For 11-year-old camper Memphis Gautier, living with hemophilia isn’t slowing him down this summer.
He’s been waiting years to get back to Camp Rainbow for a second time.
“You can spend some of the time with people who may have the same difficulties as you,” said Gautier.
Each year, East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine makes it possible for kids with cancer, hemophilia and sickle cell disease to attend summer camp.
Nearly 75 kids are attending Camp Rainbow and Camp Hope.
The camps help children learn more about themselves and their illnesses. Throughout the week there is 24-hour medical care by ECU nurses. Campers enjoy outdoor activities while making new friends who share common experiences with their diseases. Teenagers attending camp say not only have they met life-long friends but they serve as role models to the younger kids.
“If I keep encountering people who have the same thing ,and I let them know they are welcome, I feel like this impacts on their life,” said Brennan Hill, a long time camper.
It cost $1,000 for each camper to attend camp this week. However, not a single camper is paying a cent to be there.
“We are very fortunate to have community partners and we could certainly use more of those,” said Jacque Sauls, camp director.
Counselors and campers, young and old, say they come back to summer camp each year for the same reasons.
“The love, friendship, and relationships,” said Hill. “It’s just the caring, how caring people are.”
If you’d like to make a donation to help a chronically ill child attend Camp Rainbow or Camp Hope next year, contact Jacquelyn Sauls at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-744-3304.