Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Camp Sunshine: A cause near and dear to my heart!

Hey-o! As my Instagram friends know, I've been at camp ... which has made it really difficult to "plug in" to the online world (boo!). I am enjoying the beautiful outdoors, but I had to stop by and drop y'all a quick note to plug my favorite, favorite, favorite charity - a children's camp called Camp Sunshine. 

It's a camp and community that supports children with cancer and their families, and while it began as a week of camp for children with cancer, it's grown to become so much more. Camp Sunshine is truly a support system for children with cancer - it's a place, one a week a year, that they can feel "normal," rather than feeling like an outsider with the big, bad cancer monster looming over their shoulders. It's a group of people who understand what you may be going through. For families, Camp Sunshine functions may be the only time they see their child smile.  They might even be the only times they themselves relax enough to enjoy a moment or two without the, "What if ..." questions looming over their heads. 

My brother, Christopher, is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was ten and I was twelve. We spent many, many nights in the hospital room where he was a patient on and off. For years he wore a baseball cap to school  - when he was well enough to attend. His friends from middle school still remember him as the kid in the baseball cap. For a middle schooler, who just wants to be like everyone else, being "the kid the baseball cap" was agonizing. At Camp Sunshine he could be one of the crowd - everyone was in a cap (or not!), everyone had to go to the health hut and get their medicine, everyone had a scar on their chest from the chemotherapy port. At Camp Sunshine he was just a kid, getting to run, play, swim and tie-dye with the support of doctors and nurses who could keep him safe. It was the biggest blessing we could have imagined at the time. 

Now a healthy 25-year-old engineer (I'm bragging!), Christopher uses most of his vacation time from work to volunteer at Camp Sunshine functions (I'm still bragging!), and he's committed to raising $5,000 to support children at camp and the many functions Camp Sunshine offers through the year as a support for these kids and their families.

I would be so thankful if you'd consider donating any small amount to the cause that is near and dear to our hearts. The link is here, if you're interested in learning more (and reading Christopher's story) or donating.

And ... because he's awesome - a special Camp Sunshine clothes post to go along with our teacher clothes posts!! :) 

He says: 

Some style points to note:
- Bracelets: one for every year I've been to camp!
- Watch: have to make sure we're always on time for all of the amazing activities!
- Nametag: Everyone has to wear a nametag so that the nurses know who's who when giving meds.
- Camelbak: Hydration is key. Not to mention its perfect for lugging camper's stuff and schedules
- Sunscreen: it's always sunny at Camp Sunshine! But unfortunately bald heads and UV rays don't mix...
- Running shoes: They're neon! What's not to like?! And they make me run faster.

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