Forgive me not being as good about these blog updates as I would like to be, but after reading this, you will understand how crazy things are here. One only has to step outside to realize that we are truly into the summer season and here at Camp Good Days we are busy with a lot of special events, activities and our residential camping programs.
A couple of weeks ago, on Wednesday, June 27th, which would have been my daughter Teddi’s birthday, we hosted “Life, Cancer, and the NFL…An Evening with NY Giants’ Mark Herzlich” at the Rochester Plaza. As I shared previously, we had to really live by our motto of adapt and adjust, as Mark was originally scheduled to be in Rochester on June 5th as the Special Guest for our Tournament of Love golf tournament, but was required to be at mandatory practices that week. Mark wanted to honor his commitment to the children and families at Camp Good Days and although we had minimal time to plan, promote, and prepare, I am pleased to report that the event came together and exceeded all of our expectations. A very special thank you to The Flanders Group, ESL Federal Credit Union, and the Democrat & Chronicle for their sponsorship and support of this special evening!
The more than 200 guests in attendance had a fantastic, laid-back evening with stadium-style foods served for dinner and had the chance to hear from Mark about his life, his battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma and his courage and determination to not only defeat cancer but to make it into the NFL and win the Super Bowl as a member of the NY Giants. Guests also had the opportunity to ask Mark questions and he went above and beyond in taking the time to answer questions, sign autographs, and take photographs. Mark also spent some time prior to the dinner with some of the campers who have served as Honorary Coaches with the St. John Fisher College Cardinals and the University of Rochester Yellowjackets for the Annual Courage Bowl. He talked to them one-on-one about his battle with cancer, playing football in college, playing in the NFL and going to the Super Bowl. I am sure that the experience made some great memories that these campers will carry with them for a long time. Save the date… the Eighth Annual Camp Good Days’ COURAGE BOWL will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2012. We are bringing the COURAGE BOWL back to Growney Stadium on the campus of St. John Fisher College, where the Cardinals will take on the University of Rochester Yellowjackets for one more game and this is one you won’t want to miss! Following this year’s COURAGE BOWL, the Cardinals will face a new opponent in future COURAGE BOWL games.
Our Junior Good Days program also took place from Tuesday, June 26, 2012 through Friday, June 29, 2012, both in the Rochester and Syracuse areas. This program is for those children, ages 4-7 that are still too young to attend residential camp. The highlight of the program came on Friday, June 29, 2012 when all of the Junior Good Days’ campers and volunteers from Rochester and Syracuse spent the day at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility on Keuka Lake, and got to have a little taste of what “big” camp is all about.
This past Thursday through Saturday, we held the Women’s Wellness I Program. It was a great program and a great group of women, many of them new to Camp Good Days. They had the opportunity to be pampered and take the time to relax and rejuvenate, with some of the only people in the world who can truly understand what they are going through – other women with cancer. The participants were able to take advantage of a variety of activities during the program including: massages, manicures, creating their own her garden, making jewelry, water yoga, boat rides, fishing, clay projects, and more. On Friday evening, my good friend and Camp Good Days’ volunteer, Dolly Malik, provided an instructional session on mindfulness and relaxation techniques. The program concluded with the very special Closing Ceremony, held in the beautiful Outdoor Chapel Area. Sister Fran Quinn conducted the Closing Ceremony, as she always does, but my heart went out to her as she no longer has Father David Ambuske – her partner in these special Camp Good Days’ services. We all miss Father Dave very much but I know that his spirit and memory will live on through the children and families at Camp Good Days.
On Saturday night, Wendy and I, along with her Dad, went to the Rochester Rhinos game and it was great to see them win for the second time in a week. Hopefully they are back on a winning streak now! If you are at a Rochester Rhinos game, you can visit us inside Gate D at the Quarters for Cancer table, or if you would like to help out with Quarters for Cancer, email Laura at email@example.com. On Sunday, we went to see Wendy’s Grandma and celebrate her 95th Birthday – what a milestone!
Our first full week of summer residential programs for children started this Monday. We have a full program for Childhood USA I, which is for children ages 8-12 who have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with cancer or sickle cell anemia within the past three years, and/or is actively undergoing treatment. Next week, we will welcome a second full group of campers for Childhood USA II, which is similar to this week’s program, but for children ages 13-17. In the coming weeks we will welcome campers for the Doing A World Of Good Program and we are so excited that some of our friends from countries around the world, such as Mexico, the Bahamas, Ethiopia, Germany, Turks & Caicos, and Dominican Republic will be able to join us again this year and we look forward to meeting new campers and chaperones from the Czech Republic! Special thanks to Dr. Lubos Barta, who served as a Judge for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and has been instrumental in helping to make it possible for some children dealing with cancer from the Czech Republic to be able to attend the Doing A World Of Good Program this summer.
We also have a number of special fundraising events coming up, all of which help us to continue providing our programs and services free of charge for the participants. More than 200 people are registered to take part in the Just Clowning Around 5K, which is taking place this Saturday, July 14, 2012 in Mendon. Be sure to follow the event on facebook and twitter, as the participants will each receive a clown wig to wear during the event and the photos are sure to be great! In the coming weeks and months we will also be hosting a Bocce Bash, with Valenti Sports and PushYourself.com on Saturday, August 4, 2012; the Corey Coffey Golf Classic on Monday, August 20, 2012; the Friends of Ramon Santiago will host their golf tournament on Monday, August 27, 2012, from which proceeds benefit the Arts & Crafts area at Camp Good Days; and we will be bringing back the Tour de Teddi Bike Ride on Saturday, September 29, 2012. For more information about any of our upcoming events, to learn how you can get involved as a participant, sponsor, supporter, or volunteer, check out our website, www.campgooddays.org and become our fan on facebook, www.facebook.com/CampGoodDays79.
On the CANCER MISSION 2020 front, we are making progress in the plan for addressing cancer in Monroe County, where cancer is now the leading cause of death. We will be meeting with the committee to review that plan on Monday, July 16, 2012 and we look forward to sharing the final plan with all of you very soon! Don’t forget to check out www.cancermission2020.com, sign the petition, and share the site with your contacts. It is a simple task that will only take a few moments of your time, but in the end, will make a world of difference!