This is my eleventh consecutive year to play Camp C.A.R.E. I get to spend a week every June (this year it's in August) in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with over 200 children ages 5-16 who's life has been affected by cancer. It's heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time. It's absolutely exhausting and invigorating too.
The financial, physical and emotional toll that this disease places on these families is incomprehensible. The cost to bring me to the camp is in excess of $3,000 - which includes airfare, meals, lodging and a stipend for me. The cost has already been budgeted for this year by the camp but what I have discovered in years' past is that for every $500 we can raise to offset my expense another camper gets to go to camp for free. That's right, money that was allotted for my trip goes back into the central camp fund and affords one more child an opportunity to go to camp. I've been doing this fundraiser for five years now (this will be my sixth year) and in that time we've raised $7,400 - that's nearly 15 more kids that were able to go to camp for free!!
My duties (yeah, I said duty!) at camp include leading cheers, singing all the silly camp songs, leading a camp-wide talent show, guitar lessons, and visiting with children who are homesick or feeling ill.
The philosophy of Camp CARE from the beginning has been that a child with cancer is first of all, a child. A child with cancer (like all children) needs laughter, friends and fresh air. These are the very things Camp CARE can provide. Camp CARE is a non-profit 501C(3) organization which services both Presbyterian Hospital and Levine's Children's Hospital and relies entirely on donations. Please check with your employer to see if they have a matching funds program. Camp CARE is committed to providing a camp and other year round activities for children ages 3-17, who have or have had cancer and their families in the Charlotte-Metrolina area.
Thanks for reading my little story and I hope that you'll be moved to offer some (even if it's just a little) to this great cause!