(June 8, 2006)
Each year, children with cancer, hemophilia and sickle cell disease are invited to special camps designed to accommodate their medical needs while still allowing them to enjoy being kids. Sponsored by the division of pediatric hematology/oncology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, the two summer camps will be held June 11-17 at the Don Lee Center on the Neuse River near Arapahoe.
The chronically ill children, who are age 5 to 18, can swim, sail, take nature walks, learn to cook over a campfire, make crafts and participate in other traditional summer camp activities at Camp Rainbow and Camp Hope. These children would not be able to attend "regular" summer camp because they require close medical monitoring.
This year, campers come from Ayden, Beaufort, Camp Lejeune, Chocowinity, Conetoe, Edenton, Gaston, Goldsboro, Greenville, Havelock, Jacksonville, Kinston, LaGrange, Macclesfield, Maury, Mt. Olive, New Bern, Oak City, Pantego, Roanoke Rapids, Robersonville, Rocky Mount, Snow Hill, Stella, Tarboro, Turkey, Washington, Whitakers and Wilson.
Media day for both camps will be Thursday, June 15 from 9 a.m.-noon. Call Jacquelyn Sauls at (252) 744-4102 before June 9 or at (800) 535-5475 or (252) 249-1106 after June 11 for more information or to schedule an interview with campers and camp staff.
Camp Rainbow, which began in 1984, is a camp for children diagnosed with cancer, hemophilia and other blood disorders.
Camp Hope is for children with sickle cell disease, which is a genetically inherited disorder affecting the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen, causing these children to have painful events, tire more easily and be susceptible to infection.
While at camp, ECU physicians, nurses and medical students volunteer their time and medical expertise to ensure campers receive needed medical care. In addition, both camps provide support sessions to talk about cancer, sickle cell disease and hemophilia as well as strategies for staying healthy.
Both camps are free to children who are treated by the division of pediatric hematology/oncology at the Brody School of Medicine. Camp Rainbow and Camp Hope are programs of Rainbow Services and are financially supported by the Children's Miracle Network, the Medical Foundation of East Carolina University and others.
For more information and directions to the Don Lee Center, visit www.donleecenter.org