This past year at Camp Good Days has been a great success, filled with many special memories, as we celebrated our 30th Anniversary Year. As we now enter and celebrate the Holiday Season, we are trying to plan for the upcoming year, facing some uncertainty and challenges for sure, but completely committed to continuing to be the best system of support for children, adults and families whose lives have been touched by this horrible disease – cancer.
Our 30th Anniversary Year celebration will culminate with a beautiful and poignant television show, produced by Frank Contestabile and John Brown at Frontline Advertising, and narrated by longtime friend to the children of Camp Good Days, Candice Bergen. 30 Years of Courage will air in the Rochester area on Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 7:00 PM on NEWS10NBC, 13WHAM TV and WROC TV-8, and at 7:30 PM on FOX Rochester. The show will also be available On Demand from YNN Time Warner Cable. We are also in the process of making some updates and changes to our website (www.campgooddays.org) with enhanced capabilities for video so we hope to be able to have all or portions of the show available on the site in 2010.
Like others, Camp Good Days must continue to change with the times. When I started Camp Good Days in 1979, and a child was diagnosed with cancer, the best a family could hope for was that the doctors and nurses would be able to keep their child free from pain and help them to prepare for what was almost inevitable…the death of their child. Things are much different today, as we have a better understanding of cancer and when a child is diagnosed now, we throw everything at them, in terms of treatment, including the kitchen sink. These children are living longer and some beat their cancer, going on to live hopefully cancer free and what will be long and prosperous lives.
Some, unfortunately, pay a horrific price for their survival and can never put their battle with cancer behind them. The evidence of their battle is prominent and oftentimes because of their battle and the treatments, they are not able to keep up with their peers, are unable to obtain driver’s licenses, or career paths that many of us take for granted. Camp Good Days has become a key part of the long term survivor’s social life and we are dedicated to meeting the needs of this ever-growing population.
There are also those that still lose their battle with cancer and Camp Good Days will continue to be there to meet the needs of the parents and siblings, helping them through this terrible time.
With the wide variety of programs and services available at Camp Good Days, we will continue to be there for the many populations we serve and who need us. But, we need help. The lifeline of Camp Good Days has always been and continues to be the hundreds of volunteers who give so much of their time and their love and the generous contributions we receive to help fund our many programs. In order to keep the two promises I made 30 years ago – that Camp Good Days would not be a bureaucracy, but would be an organization that truly made a difference, and that all of the programs and services would be provided free of charge for the participants – we have to do the best job that we can to secure both the monetary donations and service of volunteers to support our programs.
I am excited that during 2010 we will continue working to find some of the answers that have been eluding us, in the war on cancer. More than 564,000 Americans will lose their battle to cancer this year and I hope that once Congress gets through the Health Care Reform and finds a way to somehow resolve the two major military conflicts we are involved in, that we will be able to pick up where we left off this past June with the 29th Congressional District Cancer Summit. Our goal is to help the current administration follow-up on ways to defeat this devastating disease. While we made some significant findings at the Cancer Summit, we also realized just how much is still to be done, but I am confident and committed to finding those answers!
I am pleased to report that as we end our 30th Anniversary Year and head into a new year, Camp Good Days is still a very strong and viable organization. This past October, Camp Good Days was once again awarded with the coveted Four-Star Rating from CharityNavigator.org for sound fiscal management. We are committed to our ability to adapt and adjust our programs and services to best meet the needs of the many populations we serve and to improve the quality of life for children, adults and families whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Wishing all of you a joyous Holiday Season and a New Year filled with good health, peace, happiness and much love!