Each year East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine holds summer camps for children with chronic illnesses. The camps help children learn more about themselves and their illnesses. WNCT’s Amber Joseph spent the day with campers.
Camp Hope and Camp Rainbow is something that campers look forward to every summer. It’s a camp for children with chronic illness where they can have fun and also make new friends who they can relate to.
“We come here and it makes us forget all about it and let us actually be kids because and times we’re in pain,” said camper, Daniya Deloatch.
That’s Deloatch keeps coming back to camp hope after six years of attending. She loves making new friends at camp, who she calls her support system.
“I have really strong friendships with everyone in the group. We text over the break when we’re not in camp,” said Deloatch.
Those friendships help Daniya and other campers cope with their chronic illnesses. East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine hosts Camp Rainbow and Camp Hope for children ages 6 to 18 battling cancer, hemophilia, and sickle cell disease.
What makes the camp even more special is campers don’t have to worry about camp fees. It’s run completely on donations but enrollment has decreased due to the lack of donations.
“Thirty-eight kids for Camp Hope and 27 for Camp Rainbow. Our numbers have really decreased due to funding. We used to bring in close to 120 kids for Camp Rainbow and close to 90 for Camp Hope,” said Child Camp Specialist, Tamika Mackey.
Campers participate in activities like sailing, swimming, canoeing, and crafts. Mackey says these camps really give the kids hope and a positive perspective on their illnesses.
“I’m not saying it’s a good thing but it is a good thing because this sickness makes you strong it makes you a strong individual and it helps you build as a person. You shouldn’t let sickle cell control your life and I try not to let it control my life,” said Deloatch.
If you’d like to make a donation to help a chronically ill child attend camp hope and camp rainbow contact ECU’s news services or Jacquelyn Sauls at 252-249-1106.