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Review for Camp Sunshine at Sebago Lake Inc, Casco, ME, USA

Rating: 5 stars  


I spent last weekend at CAMP SUNSHINE with my family. CAMP SUNSHINE is a place where my son Cole was able to enjoy his life before cancer and the harsh treatments he received stole his ability to run, swim, play, and laugh like all children should. CAMP SUNSHINE is run by volunteers; mostly young people in high school and college. I have such great memories of Cole and his brother and sister delighting in this wonderful place together, but it also hurts me to remember that this was one of the last places Cole was strong and healthy enough to enjoy pain-free. After Cole died I attended a bereavement weekend there with my family. It was only a few months after my son passed away and it was agonizing for me to be there without him, at that time I was nothing more than a ball of tightly wound anger. I forced my way through that weekend hiding behind a false smile for Cole’s twin brother Troy and big sister Tara. They love it at CAMP SUNSHINE so I did it for them, but inside I swore I would never go back. I thought it would always be too sorrowful for me to return.

Awhile back my family was selected to attend another bereavement gathering scheduled for last weekend and I had no intentions of appearing but after weeks of pleading from Tara and Troy I reluctantly agreed. I am so happy that I did because on the very first morning there I was presented with a great display of HOPE provided by two young volunteer counselors named MaryEllen and Kim. For those that don’t know me well I am not a morning person. It usually takes me an hour or so and at least two cups of strong coffee before my mind and body get going. However this morning as soon as we sat down for breakfast in the cafeteria MaryEllen and Kim joined us and I was immediately showered with their energy and passion to help increase funding, research, and awareness for childhood cancer. My heart was suddenly filled with HOPE; here were two young women who were intent on achieving everything we strive for to help put an end to the monster that is childhood cancer. Throughout the weekend I witnessed an equal display of enthusiasm from so many other young volunteers.

There is a theory thrown around that childhood cancer does not get the attention it needs to achieve greater funding because the subject is just too dark and uncomfortable to think about. MaryEllen, Kim, Andy, Jarryd, Adrienne and many more incredible young volunteers at CAMP SUNSHINE proved that is a weak excuse. They face the horror of childhood cancer head on with unbridled love, compassion, and enthusiasm that is truly inspirational. They were not forced into this battle like many of us; instead they have chosen to take part simply because it is the right thing to do. This gives me HOPE that the generation that will follow us will not hide behind excuses or give up when faced with obstacles in the battle against childhood cancer. To all the volunteers at CAMP SUNSHINE I just want to say thank you for all you do and for giving me HOPE that the future will be brighter because of you!

Tony Stoddard

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