I hope that everyone had a great holiday and that you all had the chance to enjoy and spend time with your families. I am very excited for 2019, because we are celebrating Camp Good Days’ 40th anniversary. I have said many times on this blog that what made Camp Good Days the organization it is today are the hundreds of special people that have come into my life over the years and helped Camp Good Days.
One of those very
special people is Bat McGrath, and I was taken aback when I heard recently that
he had been diagnosed with cancer. I
first met Bat McGrath when Camp Good Days was celebrating its 35th
anniversary. We were thinking of what we
could do to celebrate, and the idea was brought up to have a concert where
music artists, who had their roots in Rochester, would come and perform. Bat McGrath was the first person suggested in
the discussion. Unfortunately, before the
plans were put into effect, there was a devastating flood that swept through
the lower part of Camp Good Days’ recreational facility on Keuka Lake, which
caused almost half a million dollars in damages. The flood became our priority since we wanted
to try and get the camp repaired before our children’s programs started in
July. The community responded and we were able to open for our programs in July. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our weekend
programs leading up to July, but we were able to reschedule them in the fall
before we closed camp down for the winter.
Bat, who sometimes
makes several appearances in the Finger Lakes area, decided to visit camp on
his own before heading back home to Nashville, Tennessee. When he got back to Nashville he felt
compelled to write a song about Camp Good Days.
When I received the song, I was absolutely blown away, it was beautiful.
I was so excited,that I played the song
for all of our staff at our following staff meeting. I asked Bat if there was any way that he
could play the song at camp when he was up in the Finger Lakes area for
the summer. He was able to visit during the weekend of our
international program with his wife, and play the song for our campers, staff,
and volunteers. While some of our
campers did not understand what he was saying, every time he said “Camp Good
Days,” they cheered. It was a very
special concert and we were very grateful for him taking the time to bring
smiles to our campers’ faces. When I was
thanking him after the concert, he said that what would make it even more
special would be if there was a video to go with it. I was unsure of who to contact to make the
video, and he said he would ask some of his friends who were in video
production to make it. A little while
later, when I was invited to see the video for the first time, I got very
emotional. Without my knowing, they had
placed in the video, clips of Teddi, and it was a wonderful surprise for me to
see them. Since then, the DVD of the
song and video has been played hundreds of times at our events, camping
programs, and presentations. The entire
project didn’t cost Camp Good Days anything, and it is one of the most generous
gifts we have ever received. If you
haven’t seen the video, here is the link on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biQWpUcRvbY.
It is crazy to me
that it is 2019, and we are still having situations like this one with Bat
McGrath, where he was otherwise healthy and then finds out he has cancer. I don’t understand why the government is so
focused on arguing over a wall, and having a government shutdown, when that
time and effort could be going to something that is affecting every single
American whether directly or indirectly.
We need to find a way to end this disease. One out of every three women and one out of
every two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Cancer in the United States is like one of
the Twin Towers is falling every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For everyone in the United States under 80
years old, cancer is the leading cause of death. Despite the progress we have
made, there are still so many people being diagnosed with this disease, and the
treatments are still very intense and hard on the patients. Our government needs to put money and effort
into finding the answers.
I ask all of you to
keep Bat McGrath and the hundreds of thousands of people who will be diagnosed
with cancer this year, in your thoughts.
Hopefully, 2019 will bring in new changes and information in regards to
finding the answers to cancer.