Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

All of a sudden it is Friday and another week has quickly gone by here at Camp Good Days! I just returned home last night from spending most of the week at our beautiful Recreational Facility, where we are in the midst of the two-week Doing A World Of Good Program. It has been so nice to get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and sit on the deck of my cabin, watching the world wake up and looking out over Keuka Lake and thinking that there isn’t a more beautiful place to start each day.

Our Doing A World Of Good Program is in full swing now, with campers and their chaperones here from Mexico, Bahamas, Germany, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, and Ethiopia. Our international guests were joined by one group of American campers this week, who will head home today and a new group of American campers will begin their week on Monday.

We have had a week full of fun and exciting visitors and activities. On Tuesday, the campers had the chance to meet and learn some basketball skills from Rochester Razor Sharks Team President and Co-Owner, Orest Hrywnak, Head Coach, Rod Baker, Assistant Coach, Chris Iversen and Guard and All-time Razor Sharks Leading Scorer, Keith Friel. The Razor Sharks have been and continue to be great friends to the children at Camp Good Days and great supporters of all that we do and we thank them for taking the time to come out and spend the morning with our campers! Also on Tuesday, I had the pleasure of welcoming a group of visitors from the Syracuse and Central New York area. I showed them around the facility, they had the chance to meet the campers, volunteers and staff, and it is always nice to see some old friends and be able to share Camp Good Days with some new friends.

On Wednesday, we filled up three buses and took everyone to Watkins Glen International Raceway, where we were the special guests of Trackmasters, Inc. Each summer, children from Camp Good Days are invited to this very special event, which is held in memory of Michael Francesco, Jr. who was a shareholder in Trackmasters, Inc. and a major supporter of the event and passed away suddenly on April 17, 2000 at the age of 41.

The campers had the chance to see a variety of sports cars up close and personal including, BMWs, Corvettes, Porsches, Aston Martins, and more. The campers got to ride in the different cars with the drivers and then everyone had lunch together. We have truly been blessed that Trackmasters, Inc. continues to invite our campers to be a part of this special day. It is a wonderful opportunity for these children to be able to participate in this exciting and thrilling event and it is always one of the highlights for the campers who have the chance to attend.

Check out these links, and for some great stories about our visit to Watkins Glen and keep checking out our website,, and our facebook page, for photos from our trip!

On Thursday, I did an interview with Henry Dormann from WETM-TV for his Friends & Neighbors Show, which airs on Saturday mornings at 9:00 AM. I then spent some time with a group of visitors from the Buffalo and Western New York area, who like the Syracuse area visitors, were able to see the facility and meet the many campers, volunteers and staff. I then headed over to Keuka College, our neighbor across the lake, and had the pleasure of meeting with the new President, Jorge Diaz-Herrera. We had a great conversation and I truly look forward to working with him in the months and years to come. Camp Good Days has long enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the many administrators, faculty, staff and students from Keuka College and in fact, Melissa Cappelluti, our Program Assistant & Ropes Course Instructor is a graduate of Keuka.

This morning I had an interview with Virginia Butler at YNN Rochester to share some of the updates about CANCER MISSION 2020 and the upcoming Congressional District Cancer Summits. For all of the up-to-date information on the Congressional District Cancer Summits, including dates, locations, guest speakers and more, please visit and as always, please be sure to sign the CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition and share the site with your network of contacts. We can only succeed in this important initiative to end cancer by the end of the decade, if we all come together in a cooperative and collaborative way!

This afternoon I am going to head out to Waterloo and meet our international campers and chaperones at the Waterloo Premium Outlets where they will be getting in some shopping and dinner. Tomorrow, they will spend some time at Eastview Mall and then we will all head to Frontier Field for a Picnic Dinner and to watch the Rochester Red Wings take on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

We are looking forward to welcoming a new group of campers on Monday, as well as to having the Rochester Rhinos Soccer Team, led by Head Coach, Bob Lilley, visit for lunch and some soccer games!

Stay tuned for the full update on next week’s exciting activities and events and I wish you all a healthy, happy and safe weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just wanted to give you all a quick update before I get on the road and head down to Camp to spend the day with the campers and volunteers, which I am sure will be a day filled with beach, aquatics and pool activities since we’re supposed to be close to 100 degrees today!

As I mentioned yesterday, Mark Antonucci and I had the chance to go out to the KOA Care Camp in Farmington to receive a donation to benefit our many programs and services, from the KOA Care Camp Owners. We met with Victor Arsenault and some of his staff members who were so gracious and kind. They showed us around the property and we were able to get to know each other a little better. The photo from our visit is included with this post. I would like to publicly thank Victor and all of the KOA Care Camp Owners for all of their support and generosity over the years, which has helped us to continue providing our many programs and services free of charge for the participants.

Last night we took all of the campers, volunteers and staff to the Western New York Flash game, as they took on Abby Wambach’s Magicjack team. It was a record-breaking, sell-out crowd at Sahlen’s Stadium in Downtown Rochester and a great opportunity for the campers to see some of the best women soccer players in the world, up close and personal.

The next few days we will be busy with Project T.I.P.S. and picking up some of our international guests arriving this weekend for the Doing A World Of Good Program. There are many exciting things planned for the campers in the coming weeks, so please keep checking back for updates.

As always, I wish all of you a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Here we are…midway through another week already! Last Friday it was such a thrill for the campers from Rochester and Buffalo, who were participating in the Childhood USA Program, to be able to attend a special practice of the Blue Angels, courtesy of the ESL International Air Show. They got to see the pilots and planes up close and personal and I am sure will carry those memories with them for a long time to come. They were truly treated like the VIPS that they are and our thanks go out to ESL and to Jim LeBeau for making this opportunity possible for some of our campers. You can check out photos from this special activity on our website, or via our facebook page, I think that most of us can agree that when you see the Blue Angels flying in formation, our hearts beat a little faster and surge with pride in being an American.

On Saturday morning, we held a meeting and training session for some of our CANCER MISSION 2020 College Campus Advocates. Mark Antonucci on our staff put in a lot of time and effort into the meeting agenda and materials so that these young advocates would be adequately prepared to share CANCER MISSION 2020 with their fellow students in September. We met with students from St. John Fisher College, Nazareth College, University of Rochester, SUNY Oswego, John Carroll University, and Houghton College, and overall it was a really productive meeting. I am convinced more than ever that much of the efforts in our quest to find the answers to cancer will rest on the shoulders of young people and I am so thrilled to have these students on board and willing to help us. We are in the process of planning another meeting and training session for other College Campus Advocates who are on board but were unable to attend on Saturday. Once again, if you know someone who would be interested in joining us in this initiative by serving as a CANCER MISSION 2020 College Campus Advocate, please have them check out or contact Mark directly, here at Camp Good Days, 585-624-5555 or

On Saturday evening, Wendy and I had the pleasure of attending Julia Vosburgh’s wedding. It was a beautiful evening and I was so honored to have been asked to provide the blessing at the reception. We wish Julia and her new husband, Adam, the very best as they begin their new life together.

Like most Americans, and most people around the world, on Sunday we were glued to the TV watching the US Women’s Soccer Team take on Japan for the World Cup Championship. We really thought that our hopes would be fulfilled with a game winning, header goal by Abby Wambach, and for awhile it seemed that dream would come true, but it was not to be. It was sad and tough to watch the US lose, but I think deep down we can all be happy for Japan, as the citizens of that country have been through so much this past year and they truly played their hearts out.

On Monday evening, Wendy, James and I met with the parent / guardians of those children who will be attending Camp FACT, which is for children ages 8-13 who are currently in the Monroe County Foster Care System. It was a full house and another good meeting in which we could share what campers and parents / guardians can expect from their experience at Camp Good Days, as well as what we expect from them.

Yesterday we started the day with some good news! Laura received an email from Dr. Tere Lanche, the doctor who has been chaperoning campers from Mexico for the Doing A World Of Good Program for many, many years. One of the children she planned to bring this year, Maria, was originally denied her Visa to travel and we were saddened and upset that Maria would not be able to have the experience of attending Camp Good Days. However, on Tuesday morning we learned that through the diligent efforts Dr. Tere, Camp Good Days, and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Maria was granted a second appointment and did in fact receive her Visa! So we very much look forward to seeing Dr. Tere and Maria and all of our special international visitors as they begin to arrive this coming weekend.

Tuesday afternoon, Rich Funke and I taped our monthly radio show, Good Days and Special Times, and this was a very important show as we focused on CANCER MISSION 2020 and the upcoming Congressional District Cancer Summits we will be holding next month. Don’t forget, you can tune in to the show the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 PM on News Power 1040 AM WYSL and 92.1 FM and if you miss the show you can get the podcast at I am very excited for next month’s taping, as we will be doing that from the 29th Congressional District Cancer Summit, being held on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility. If you want more information about any of the upcoming Cancer Summits, check out

More good news came along on Tuesday afternoon when Chrissy Woods, our Camp Director called me to let me know that the ACA (American Camp Association) Re-Accreditation had gone very well and we passed with flying colors! The ACA Accreditation process is something that we go through every three years and for residential camps, being accredited by the ACA is like having the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Our successful re-accreditation is a true credit to Chrissy and the other staff including Amanda Anderson in the Kitchen; Mark Serrett, our Facility Manager, Melissa Cappelluti who coordinates our Adventure Ropes Course, Michelle Roach who oversees the Infirmary, and last but certainly not least, Wendy, who has provided her leadership, assistance and guidance to all of the staff who were a part of this process.

Last week, the campers had the exciting opportunity to visit with the Navy Band Northeast and attend the ESL International Air Show Blue Angels practice and this week the campers who are attending Camp B&ST, which is for children ages 8-17 who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer or sickle cell anemia within the past three years, will have the amazing opportunity to attend the Western New York Flash Women’s Soccer game tonight, when they take on Magicjack. The game is sold out at Sahlen’s Stadium in Downtown Rochester and the campers are going to be able to see some of the best women soccer players in the world with Marta and Alex Morgan playing for the Flash and Abby Wambach playing for Magicjack. It is supposed to be a beautiful night and should be a really fun time for all of the kids...and the adults!

Prior to the game, we have a Staff Meeting to touch base on all that is going on and speaking of Staff…it has been so nice, especially after some really tough weeks, to have Tammy and Karl both back in the office! I think that Grace, the office cat, is really happy to have Tammy back! After the Staff Meeting, I am going to the KOA Kampground in Farmington to receive a check for a donation from KOA Kampgrounds of America, to support the many programs and services we provide. KOA has been longstanding and very generous supporters of Camp Good Days and in fact were one of the earliest to support Camp Good Days and other children’s oncology camps.

On Thursday, I am going to head down to Camp and spend some time with the campers, volunteers and staff and on Friday, we have our third Project T.I.P.S. event for this year, which will take place from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM in the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood, at Iceland Park. Project T.I.P.S. stands for Trust, Information, Programs & Services, and includes community agencies and law enforcement personnel working in selected neighborhoods to rebuild trust amongst residents and share information. It’s always nice to see the residents, especially the children, interacting with the members of the law enforcement agencies and improving trust and relationships. This Project T.I.P.S. promises to be as good as the previous events and we look forward to another successful community building afternoon. If you are interested in learning more about Project T.I.P.S., please contact James McCauley, Jr. here at Camp Good Days, 585-624-5555 or

As I mentioned earlier, the weekend is going to be busy as the campers and chaperones who will be participating in the Doing A World Of Good Program will be arriving and we are excited for that program, which is two weeks long for our international guests, who are joined by two different groups of campers from the United States, one group per week. We have many fun and exciting things planned for these two weeks, so keep checking this blog, our website and facebook for all of the updates, photos, and more!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011

Another week is flying by here at Camp Good Days and once again, our thoughts and prayers go out to one of own, as Karl Rudolfs, who is our Information Technology Coordinator and helps to coordinate the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Auction Dinner, which is our largest fundraising event in the Rochester area, lost his Dad this past Sunday. We also are keeping Mark Serrett, our Recreational Facility Manager, in our thoughts and prayers, as his father is in critical condition at the hospital.

One of the reasons I am so proud to lead this organization is because I have such a wonderful and dedicated team of staff members. We have a very small staff but they have all continued to dig deep over these difficult past few weeks and pitch in and step up wherever and whenever needed. It is because of this that we have not missed a beat during what is our busiest and most important time of the year.

A new group of campers headed to the Recreational Facility on Monday morning, for the Childhood USA Program, which is for children ages 8-17 who have a parent or sibling that has been diagnosed with cancer within the past three years and / or who is actively undergoing treatment. Nearly 80 children are enjoying a fun-filled week at Camp Good Days and enjoying the beautiful weather we continue to be blessed with. The all-beach and pool activities are definitely favorites in this weather!

On Tuesday, the campers all boarded the buses and came to the Camp Good Days’ Headquarters in Mendon, as we had a very special visit and performance from the Navy Band Northeast, as part of Navy Week here in Rochester. I was pleasantly surprised and so pleased that Don Quinn, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Commander, Navy Personnel Command and Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel was able to join us. Admiral Quinn is a Rochester native and his Dad, also Don, was a longtime football and wrestling coach in East Rochester and someone I have always admired. I had the chance to talk with Admiral Quinn and share some information about Camp Good Days with him, and all that we have accomplished over these 32 years, which he was interested in learning about since he left Rochester prior to Camp Good Days being formed. The campers had a fantastic time and the Navy personnel could not have been any nicer. Their kindness, courtesy and professionalism are all a true credit to the United States Navy. As another special highlight to their week at Camp Good Days, the campers from Rochester and Buffalo will have the chance to attend a special practice and rehearsal of the Blue Angels on Friday, courtesy of the ESL International Air Show.

It was exciting to watch some of the Women’s World Cup game on Wednesday afternoon, when the United States took on France and came away with the win, 3-1. Many of us in the Rochester area know Abby Wambach, as she too is a Rochester native, and we can all take great pride in the US Women’s Soccer Team and we wish them the very best as they head into the finals this Sunday!

We are still working on finalizing details and plans for the four Cancer Mission 2020 Congressional District Cancer Summits, which are all taking place next month. I had the chance to speak with Dr. Leslie Kohman, Distinguished Service Professor, Medical Director of Surgery, and Medical Director, Upstate Cancer Center at Upstate University Hospital, on Wednesday morning, and I am so pleased she has agreed to serve as our special Guest Speaker for the 28th Congressional District Cancer Summit, which will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. Dr. Kohman is a true pioneer in her field and I am very much looking forward to spending some time with her at the Cancer Summit.

We will be having an informational and training meeting for our Cancer Mission 2020 College Campus Advocates, here in the Mendon Office this Saturday and we are looking forward to getting these young people on their way to helping us in this important initiative.

Don’t forget to check out for all of the up-to-date information on the Congressional District Cancer Summits and the Cancer Mission 2020 College Campus Advocate Program, and please share the site with your contacts, encouraging them to join us by signing the Cancer Mission 2020 petition, so that we can all come together to put an end to cancer by the end of the decade!

Today brought a full day of meetings. We had the Project Exile Advisory Board Meeting followed by a planning meeting of the Project T.I.P.S. Committee. Project T.I.P.S., as I have mentioned previously, stands for Trust, Information, Programs and Services, and we will be holding a Press Conference regarding our next event, tomorrow morning. James McCauley, Jr., our Partners Against Violence Everywhere (PAVE) Initiative Coordinator and I met with Carlos Cotto this afternoon in regards to the Leadership Program we host at Camp Good Days, in cooperation with the Rochester City School District for students transitioning from Elementary School to Middle School. Tomorrow, after the Project T.I.P.S. Press Conference I am looking forward to meeting our campers over at the Greater Rochester International Airport for the Blue Angels practice.

In addition to all of the challenges we have been dealing with – there is the saying that it takes a village to raise a child – well, it apparently takes Camp Good Days to raise a kitten. We are all helping and supporting Ryan in her quest to save and nurture “Peter” the two week old kitten she is rescuing!

There is certainly never a dull moment here!

It is hard to even believe that we are heading into mid-July already – the summer is going way too fast – and hard to believe it is already Thursday again! But, we continue onward and wish all of you a healthy, happy and safe weekend!

PS: If you’re not a fan of Camp Good Days on facebook, like us at You’ll be privy to all of our updates, photos, and more!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

It’s hard to believe that as I write this it is already July 8th. It feels like the summer is zooming by, but maybe that’s because we didn’t have much of a spring – we went from constant rain to beautiful summer, but it does feel as if it is going quickly.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Lee Helman, Scientific Clinical Director for the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute. I truly enjoyed my conversation with him and one thing he mentioned, which oftentimes is forgotten, is that while yes, we have made progress in the area of some forms of childhood cancer, some of those who survive their battle continue to spend an inordinate amount of time in pain, in the hospital, and dealing with respiratory or kidney problems as a result of their treatments. We often think that when someone is told there is no sign of cancer in the body that the battle is over and they will go on to live a full life free of pain and hospital visits, but with remission sometimes comes a high price to pay, not only economically, but physically and emotionally as well. We still have a ways to go before we can say we have been truly successful and I look forward to helping Dr. Helman promote the important work that he and his colleagues are doing.

Through our conversation we realized that we knew a number of the same people and Dr. Helman mentioned that he had recently had dinner with Dr. Harvey Cohen. Dr. Cohen was Director of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology at University of Rochester Medical Center in the 80s and early 90s. Dr. Cohen is a great friend and was one of our doctors at Camp Good Days who now is Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director of Palliative Care at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at the Stanford University School of Medicine. After chatting with Dr. Helman, I decided to send a note to Dr. Cohen and was so excited to have a note back from him yesterday morning. It was great to catch up with him and he even sent me a photo of him, his wife, and their grandchildren – wow how the time flies!

On Thursday morning, Julia Vosburgh came to see me at the office. I have known Julia since she was four years old, as her Dad, Paul, is my boss at St. John Fisher College, where I am an Assistant Football Coach. I have watched Julia grow into a beautiful young lady – both on the outside and inside - and I was so honored that she came to see me to ask me if I would provide the blessing at her wedding reception next Saturday. Julia is a free spirit and marches to her own drum and I will tell her future husband, Adam that life with Julia will always be an adventure and she will keep him on his toes!

On Thursday afternoon I put the top down and drove down to the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility to spend some time with the campers in the Childhood USA/B&ST Alumni Program, which is a residential camping program for children, ages 8-17, who have a parent or sibling dealing with cancer, but whose last treatment was three or more years ago, or who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer three or more years ago. As this was the Alumni Program, I had the opportunity to see some campers who have been coming to Camp Good Days for many years and it’s so nice to have some of them grow up to become volunteers and even members of our summer staff. The campers were having a great time with each other and the volunteers and staff. The facility looks great and the highlight for me was having a front row seat for the Talent Show. It’s always amazing to see how happy the kids are at Camp Good Days, especially given the very difficult circumstances that they are dealing with.

On my drive home, I listened to “Good Days & Special Times” the Camp Good Days’ monthly radio show, which airs the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 PM on News Power 1040 AM WYSL and 92.1 FM. Rich Funke, Anchor at NEWS10NBC, and I have been hosting this show together for the past 11 years. Sarah Clapper has helped us to produce the show every month and with the folks at WYSL, we have a great team. The Camp Good Days’ Radio Show is another way to stay up-to-date with all that we have going on and if you miss the show you can get the podcast at This month was the first time since we have been doing this show that I was not able to be there, as I was dealing with family matters with Ron’s passing, but I listened with great interest as Rich interviewed Dr. Aram Hezel, Assistant Professor of Hematology / Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center, about the work they are doing at Wilmot and specifically about clinical trials.

This morning I had breakfast with an old friend and Camp Good Days’ supporter, Jim Mulley and one of his good friends, Bill Taylor and we chatted about our Partners Against Violence Everywhere (PAVE) Initiative, Project Exile and Project T.I.P.S. Programs and CANCER MISSION 2020. I have spent the rest of the day catching up on mail and other items in the office and am deciding if I am going to head to the Rochester Rhinos game tonight at Sahlen’s Stadium, or spend a relaxing night at home with Rebel, my bull terrier, since Wendy and Elenore, our Irish terrier are down at Camp.

The Alumni Program campers returned home this morning and tonight a group of women dealing with cancer will arrive for the Women’s Oncology Adventure Program. Our staff has put together a full weekend for the women with activities ranging from nature hikes and the adventure ropes course to kayaking, canoeing and more. I plan to head back down to Camp this weekend, as the Women’s Program is one of my personal favorites. It’s so nice to be able to see these women, who give so much of themselves on a daily basis to their families, friends, and jobs, and who have all been dealing with this horrible disease, to have a few days to just focus on their own relaxation, enjoyment, and camaraderie with the only others in the world who can truly understand all that they go through – other women dealing with cancer.

We continue to work every day on putting the pieces into place for CANCER MISSION 2020 and specifically the four Congressional District Cancer Summits we have planned for this August. The 24th Congressional District Cancer Summit with Congressman Richard Hanna will be held on Friday, August 12, 2011 in the Utica area. The 25th Congressional District Cancer Summit with Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle will be held on Monday, August 15, 2011 in the Syracuse area. The 28th Congressional District Cancer Summit with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2011 in Buffalo, and the 29th Congressional District Cancer Summit with Congressman Tom Reed will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility.

We also are looking forward to meeting with our CANCER MISSION 2020 College Campus Advocates next Saturday, for an informational meeting and training session, to help prepare them to serve as ambassadors for the initiative at their schools.

We will have many more details and information about these Cancer Summits, including locations, agendas and keynote speakers, as well as the College Campus Advocate Program to share with all of you in the coming days and weeks, but again I ask you to please check out www.cancermission2020,com, sign the petition and join us in this important initiative to put an end to cancer by the end of the decade!

As we head into next week we will have completed two full camping programs for children, two sessions of our Women’s Oncology Program, and our Young Adult Program. By the end of the season, based on participation and registrations, we will have served nearly 45,000 campers over these past 32 years, and if all goes well, we will have another country represented – Ethiopia – in our Doing A World Of Good Program, bringing the total number of countries to 27. Summer is definitely in full swing now!

Wishing all of you a wonderful and safe weekend!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Fourth of July Holiday Weekend began for us last Thursday. It was a beautiful day and more than 200 of Ron Federico’s family members and friends gathered on the lawn at Holy Cross Anglican Church in Webster to say goodbye this very special and gentle man. As one can imagine, I have been to way too many funerals, but Ron’s was so simple and elegant and is one that I will remember for a very long time.

To have Father David Ambuske, who is such a fine man and a blessing to everyone at Camp Good Days, preside over Ron’s funeral meant so much, and his wife, Linda, could not have been more helpful in accommodating all of us. Time and again it is apparent that working at Camp Good Days is so much more than just a job – we are truly a family. The staff at Camp Good Days has been tremendous, filling in for Tammy so that she could spend her time with Ron in his final days and take care of all the necessary things that must be done. They pitched in to help ensure that the services were what she wanted them to be, and the balloon launch was exceptionally beautiful. Daria Bour made the service extra special by playing the bagpipes, on very short notice. Mike Falvo – there just aren’t enough words to express what he means to the children and families at Camp Good Days and to all of us. His guidance, assistance and compassionate support during this difficult time were astounding. Tammy invited everyone back to her and Ron’s house that afternoon, as it is their beautiful home they made together and Ron was so proud of it.

On Friday, Wendy and I took my father-in-law, Tammy and Tammy’s daughters out to dinner and then we went to Sahlen’s Stadium, as it was Camp Good Days’ Night, and we watched the Rochester Rhinos take on the Richmond Kickers – it was great to see the Rhinos win!

On Saturday, I took some much needed time to think, reflect and grieve, while Wendy got some chores done around the house. On Saturday evening, Tammy and one of her daughters came over and joined us for a cookout.

On Sunday, we woke up to another beautiful day – the Lord has blessed us with some great weather recently – and Wendy and I drove out to the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility on Keuka Lake to see how things were there. As we walked around, I noticed the amazing new miniature golf course, which the family of Scotty Toombs, a former camper who lost his battle to cancer, has been not only raising the money to renovate, but has personally been coming to Camp Good Days to put the new course together. Like clockwork, every weekend they have been there getting the new course ready for the campers to enjoy. It dawned on me that the 2011 summer had already started and our first camping program, the Sharing & Caring / Do The Right Thing Program, which is for children who have lost an immediate family member to homicide or have been recipients of the Rochester Police Department’s Do The Right Thing Award, had already taken place. For the first time in 32 years, we held a program and I was not able to be there, even for a visit. However, in talking with Chrissy Woods, our Camp Director, and James McCauley, Jr. our Partners Against Violence Everywhere (PAVE) Initiative Coordinator, it appears that we started out the season on the right foot with the campers having a great experience and no real problems arising.

On Sunday evening, we went to Chuck & Michelle’s for a cookout – as only Michelle can do! Sitting on their deck, only a few miles from Camp, I realized how blessed I have been to have Michelle in my life and how blessed all the children and families at Camp Good Days are to have Michelle as part of our family. I have known Michelle for 32 years, as she was one of Teddi’s nurses when Teddi was in the hospital. With the exception of when Michelle attended the University of Pittsburgh to obtain her advanced degree, she has been a part of the Camp Good Days’ programs for all these years.

Monday, the Fourth of July, would have been my Dad’s 100th birthday, if he was still alive. We had a quiet day and went to visit Tammy, who as anyone can imagine is having a hard time. It is so hard to see this emotionally drained and devastated woman and you wish so much that you could just free her of all that pain, and hurt, and sadness. Unfortunately, we can’t do that, this is a part of life and all we can do is be there for her with our support and compassion. We took Tammy to dinner on Monday night and then went to the Red Wings game at Frontier Field with Wendy’s Dad, but our hearts just weren’t in it and we left before the end of the game.

A new week and a new program have begun here at Camp Good Days. Campers in the Childhood USA / B&ST Alumni Program headed to Camp; we had an All City Staff Meeting so that we can all catch up and make sure we are on track with all of our important work; and I had a phone call with Dr. Lee Helman, Scientific Clinical Director for the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, to share with him a little bit about CANCER MISSION 2020.

Going through these past few weeks has been emotionally draining, yet it has renewed my commitment and resolve about how important CANCER MISSION 2020 is. In the words of Jim Valvano – we can’t give up, we can’t ever give up!

PLEASE, if you have not yet checked out CANCER MISSION 2020,, please go to the site, sign the petition and join us in this important initiative. And please, share the site and the initiative with your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, co-workers, fellow parishioners, etc. It is going to take all of us, together, to finally find the answers and put an end to cancer by the end of the decade!