Saturday, May 31, 2003

Day camp meets the needs of kids who cope with cancer

By Gina Holt
Enquirer Contributor

[IMAGE] Time spent with her daughter is precious to Debbie Lindsey, who hugs Aislinn, 10, after the two read a book together.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
Aislinn Lindsey, 10, has overcome leukemia once and is trying to do it again.

For at least one day, she can set that aside and share some fun with others battling cancer at a free day camp sponsored by the American Cancer Society in June.

"One of our main goals of the American Cancer Society is to improve the quality of life of those affected by cancer in any way," said Rachel Dawson, communications and marketing specialist. "Along with fun activities at the camp, there are also health care professionals on hand."

"Aislinn really loves that cancer camp," said her mother, Deborah Lindsey of Edgewood. "I wish it was more than one day. She loves arts and crafts and the interaction with the kids."

What: Touched By Cancer Day Camp
Where: Presidents Park, Edgewood
Rain location: Thomas More College, Holbrook Student Center
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Check-in: 8:30 a.m.
Who: Children 6 to 12 years old who have been touched by cancer
Open registration: through June 2 by calling (800) ACS-2345
Late registration: Call (859) 647-2200 after June 2
Cost: Free, lunch and snacks included
Aislinn, born with Down syndrome, "understands the best way she can," said Mrs. Lindsey. "She's a smart little girl. She just knows she's so sick. She says 'I'm sick, Mommy.'

"They were so optimistic in 1998," said her mother. Aislinn was in remission for three years but was diagnosed again last September.

"The chance of survival is down to 40 percent," her mom says, and Aislinn doesn't really understand what is wrong.

"It just doesn't seem fair. She's been fighting illness for five years of her life not to count what she deals with with Down syndrome."

Some of the children who attend the camp have cancer themselves while others may have a relative or friend with cancer.

The children can draw emotions on the "anger wall" and throw water balloons at it. The children can release their emotions in the relaxation tent, too. They can also talk with the health care professionals.

A lot of the people they see during their treatments attend the camp and Mrs. Lindsey enjoys talking with them and sharing stories.

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