Lincoln County, Ga (WJBF)- It’s summer break for kids in the CSRA and for many that means summer camp.
For children with cancer, life stops being typical as soon as they are diagnosed. They have to grow up fast.
But, Camp Rainbow gives these kids something they crave during their battle— a chance to be normal.
“It’s awesome. I’ve had a lot of fun. Made new friends,” said camper Trent Shealey.
15-year old Shealey was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2018. He said it’s nice to be around other kids who understand what he’s been through.
“I feel kinda normal here. Because everyone here has the same, sorta , similar experiences. And it’s really put out my extrovert side,” he explained.
Camp Rainbow is held each summer in at Camp Lakeside in Lincoln County by Children’s Hospital of Georgia. It’s for kids who are fighting or in remission from pediatric cancer.
Camp Director, Kym Allen has been here since the early days – nearly 30 years ago. And she said it’s not just for the patients.
“Well, lots of times when kids get diagnosed with cancer, the sibling is kinda left in the dust. So, the sibling is going through a lot too,” Allen explained. “So, Camp Rainbow has always invited a sibling to come as well. They can connect with other siblings, just like our patients can connect with other patients.”
Camp Rainbow helps take campers’ minds of whatever they’re going through.
“And I think that’s what the big take home message is. That we treat kids– we want kids to have a fun typical summer camp experience. And that is what Camp Rainbow is all about,” said Allen.
Kendra Eady has gone from camper to counselor. She said being able to volunteer at the camp that meant so much to her as a child, means everything to her now.
“I feel for these children. I know exactly what they’re going through. I know every emotion, every feeling, every ache and pain that they’re experiencing. I know what their days are like,” Eady said.
Camp Rainbow is funded by donations. This years camp is almost over, but if you want to help fund the 2023 session you can find that info on their website.