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Free Children’s Camp For Cancer Survivors Needs More Enrollees

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Kids at the Balarat Outdoor Education Center (credit: CBS)

Kids at the Balarat Outdoor Education Center (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a new summer camp especially for children who have survived cancer. It’s a week in June in the beautiful outdoors and it’s free. The only problem is the camp needs children.

Those with a child who is a cancer survivor can take advantage of this opportunity to make friends, take on new challenges, and realize they are not alone.

The camp is located about 50 miles from Denver just past Jamestown. The Balarat Outdoor Education Center serves 10,000 Denver students every year. But this summer, for one week, Balarat will be a free camp just for children with incredible courage — children like 12-year-old Allison Winn.

Diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor five years ago, Allison has endured surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. But there was another hard part.

“Seeing other kids that were healthy, because it reminded me what I used to be able to do and what I couldn’t do,” Allison said.

She’s excited to spend part of June at what’s being called “Camp Courage.”

“I can’t wait to meet other kids who have gone through the same thing I’ve gone through and to relate to their stories,” Allison said.

She’s has been to camp before. Her admittedly overprotective mom likes the freedom.

“It’s a good thing for her to be able to get out and do something where she doesn’t have a mom saying, ‘Be careful, don’t do this, don’t do that,’ ” Allison’s mother Dianna Litvak said.

The opportunity seems perfect, but there’s one problem.

“Right now we only have about five kids signed up; four or five kids that are actually enrolled and the camp is in about three weeks,” camp director John Hite said.

Hite is anxiously spreading the word.

Allison is counting on meeting other kids and her mom is encouraging parents of young cancer survivors to give it a try.

“They come home with this renewed sense of, ‘I can do anything,’ ” Litvak said.

Allison’s mother says there’s a magic that happens at these kinds of camps with this kind of community.

Camp Courage has room for 30 children. Cancer survivors ages 10 to 15 and their siblings are invited. It runs June 4-8. Visit camp-courage.org for more information.

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