Summer camp offers free attendance for children with chronic illnesses

Summer camp offers free attendance for children with chronic illnesses
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 9:27 PM EDT
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ARAPAHOE, N.C. (WITN) - For more than 30 years, ECU Health, the Brody School of Medicine, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital have hosted a special summer camp at Camp Don Lee in Arapahoe for children who live with cancer, hemophilia, and sickle cell.

Camp Rainbow is a camp for children with cancer and hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and Camp Hope is a camp for children with sickle cell disease.

The camp provides pediatric patients an opportunity to learn more about themselves and their illness, participate in fun camping activities like swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, crafts, music, and drama

While at camp, children receive 24-hour medical care and close medical monitoring by their ECU Health care teams including physicians, nurses, child life, and social workers.

“Being able to come around people that has the same conditions as we do it just makes us feel like we’re not alone because it’s hard having sickle cell and it’s not always easy,” said camp counselor Daniya Deloatch.

Deloatch is a long-time attendee of Camp Hope and a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T State University.

“That’s the reason that we started Camp Hope in Camp Rainbow is because we found out that children with chronic illnesses were not often allowed to go to camp but you get to see just joy here at camp they get to be kids they don’t have to worry about yeah I have cancer or yeah I have sickle cell disease I just want to be a kid,” added camp director Jacque Sauls.

Sauls said both Camp Hope and Camp Rainbow, unfortunately, had to turn away a number of students this year in order to completely fund all 55 campers’ respective stays. The camp hopes to fund more spots next summer. You can donate to the ECU Health Medical & Health Sciences Foundation, Inc., Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the Pamlico Neuse Women’s Coalition, the James and Mamie Richardson Perkins Trust, the Mildred Sheffield Wells Charitable Trust, Riley’s Army, Beau’s Buddies; who are listed as sponsors for the summer program.