Welcome to Heather's 2022 Keencheefoonee Road Race Page!
Camp Sunshine is a weeklong sleep-away camp for kids who have been diagnosed with cancer.
As a former camper, I can tell you Camp Sunshine was always the best week of my life.
Normally, when a child is diagnosed with cancer, the days of playing ball and going swimming are replaced with clinic visits and hospital admissions. Yet at Camp Sunshine’s Summer Camp, a camper can receive chemotherapy in the morning and be horseback riding by the afternoon. Camp Sunshine allows children with cancer to fully experience summer camp just like other kids.
Camp Sunshine takes place at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia in a totally accessible facility. Because the camp is fully accessible, you will see amazing things like blind children riding bikes, and amputees doing the ropes course.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 15. I didn’t want to go to camp that first year because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything fun due to my CVL and inability to put any weight on one leg. Boy was I wrong! I was on the ropes course, swimming, horseback riding, archery, A&C- you name it. At camp, truly anything is possible.
I remember thinking that I would be an outsider at camp because I was bald and tired all of the time. I thought I would feel lonely and misunderstood like I did at school. But at camp I didn’t wear my wig at all. At camp, I finally felt like I was at home in my own skin. I was so excited that I had other kids my age to talk to about cancer- and also to know that I didn’t have to say anything at all and they would understand. I had the best time and was so sad when it came time to go home.
My years at camp transformed me into the person I am today. Camp taught me confidence and the power of stepping out of my comfort-zone. As a camper, I made life-long friends and was able to grow with a community of people who understood my fears and then helped me turn my challenges into opportunities.
Now, as a counselor, I get to help pay it forward by facilitating camp activities for children who are facing those same life challenges. I have seen that attending camp allows campers to be more self-sufficient, self-aware, and empathetic. Cancer can impact anyone- so the kids who come to camp make friends outside of their grade, and neighborhood, and across socio-economic statuses, ethnicities, and races. Camp allows us to all come together and be our best, no matter who we are or where we come from. Camp teaches us that love is bigger than the troubles that we’ll ever see.
Over the past two years, camp has had to go virtual in order to protect campers, many of whom are immunocompromised due to their treatments and health history. Living during the pandemic has been incredibly isolating for all of us so you can imagine how much more lonely people with compromised immune systems feel. We are so excited to host camp again in person this year! Please consider donating whatever you can in order to help send these kids back to camp!
One of the greatest things that Camp Sunshine does is to ensure that camp is TOTALLY FREE to campers. Finances are hard on families who are affected by cancer and camp gives kids an opportunity to do activities that they might never experience otherwise.
Camp volunteers have hosted a fundraiser along Keencheefoonee Road (the road where camp is located) every year since 2001 in order to raise money for camp. In the 21 years of the Keencheefoonee Road Race, we have raised over 4 million dollars! This year we hope to raise $400,000 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Camp Sunshine.
Please help us continue the Camp Sunshine legacy of allowing camp to stay completely free to campers. No amount is too small. And if you cannot donate, or even if you can, please share this link:
Many many thanks,
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