Beverly forwarded me an e-mail today about a wonderful place called Camp Sunshine, a national retreat in Casco, Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. This is such a wonderful program that we just had to share more about it with you. Here’s a snippet from the website:
[Camp Sunshine] has the distinction of being the only program in the nation whose mission is to address the impact of a life threatening illness on every member of the immediate family—the ill child, the parents, and the siblings. Since its inception, Camp Sunshine has provided a haven for over 30,000 individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Families with a child diagnosed with diseases such as cancer, kidney disease, lupus, solid organ transplants, and other life threatening illnesses attend one of the week-long camps. Our focus is on alleviating the strain that a life threatening illness takes not only on the sick child but also on other family members. Families have an opportunity to rebuild their relationships together and meet other families facing similar challenges.
Free quality services are provided at the camp including accommodations and meals, onsite medical services, counseling services, and recreational facilities. While the camp is in session, each family stays in their own family suite. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served each day.
Volunteers, except for those who live nearby, also stay on the property. Camp Sunshine is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, many of whom return year after year. The volunteers reflect the diversity of the families and help with recreational leadership, childcare, food service, and whatever else needs to be done.
Another distinctive component of the program is the medical facilities and professional staff that are available to address the taxing physical needs of children with intrusive diseases. A physician is located at the camp for the entire session so that families can be secure in the knowledge that the camp offers 24-hour onsite medical support. In addition, a hospital with full-time emergency room physicians and pediatricians is only 25 minutes from the camp.
Recreational hours allow children to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood while their parents find quiet moments to walk by the lake and reaffirm their support for one another. In addition, games and events are designed to foster family involvement, encouraging families to laugh and play as a unit. This approach builds a new foundation the family can take with them when the camp is over to unite them during the darker times they will face.
Each family is sponsored by an individual, civic group, corporation, or foundation, which enables a family to spend a week at Camp Sunshine free of charge.
While at the camp, families each stay in their own suite, and every bed features a generously donated quilt. To date, Camp Sunshine has received quilts from donors in more than 40 states and five different states. What comfort and joy it must bring to each family when they enter their suite and see a beautiful handmade quilt resting on each bed, ready to be snuggled under after a long day filled with fun, family bonding, and emotional healing.
Due to Camp Sunshine’s rapidly expanding program, and of course general wear-and-tear, the need for more quilts continues. They particularly need twin and full, though any contribution is more than welcome.
If you would like to donate a quilt (or quilts), please send to:
35 Acadia Road
Casco, ME 04015
Please click here to visit the website for more information.
It’s programs like these that prove there really is good in this world. Please let us know if you decide to donate a quilt, or know of someone who has already participated in this wonderful program.