For a parent, there are few things as difficult as watching your child struggle with illness. And there are few things as rewarding as seeing them smile. Parents whose children are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness like cancer experience these feelings deeper than most. Along with the diagnosis comes not only the fear of losing a child, but also the realization that their lives have suddenly changed forever. So finding those opportunities to find “normal” — and smiles — again are vitally important.
Specialty camps for kids with cancer provide one such opportunity. There, kids get the chance to experience everything that comes with a summer camp experience, from zip lines and swimming parties to staying up late and playing pranks on counselors. And they get to do it all while still having access to the medical care and monitoring they need.
The KOA Care Camps program began in 1984 with establishment of the Care Camps Trust. Through the continued generosity and dedication of KOA owners and campers, the program has grown steadily, and presently the Care Camps Trust is able to contribute to a total of 94 camps. Each year now several thousand children who have been affected by cancer are touched by Care Camps donations.
The Trust takes its responsibility for giving money away very seriously. It supports camps that serve only children who have cancer, or are in remission. A sibling may come, too, for they also are deeply affected as the family deals with this illness.