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Family Matters - Summer 2009

Summer Programs Bring Fun Memories for Patients and Siblings

School’s out and the livin’ is easy. But even though young patients in the Children’s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson have set their school books aside, they’re always packed up and ready to go for summer fun.

Patients and siblings participate in the ropes course at Camp Star TrailsCamp Star Trails

If it’s June, it must be Camp Star Trails. For an entire week, patients ages 5-12 and their siblings enjoy swimming, horseback riding, arts and crafts, archery, cooking and more at the Camp for All facility in Burton, Texas. This camping site is designed for children with special needs and accommodates any medical issues that may arise. At Camp Star Trails, there’s always at least one physician and two oncology nurses on duty.

Children look forward to this special brand of freedom and the opportunity to behave like a “normal” kid. It’s also an opportunity for these patients to build special relationships with those they normally see only in a medical environment. M. D. Anderson employees whose responsibilities don’t include patient contact are also invited to camp as counselors and volunteers, giving them a chance to see just why they are working here.

Beach Bash In-Hospital Camp

A unique in-hospital camp is also held in June especially for the children who are not able to go to away-camp. The camp has a special theme each year that takes children to faraway places.

Beach Bash 2009The camps began in 2007 with “Rockin’ in the Rainforest” and continued in 2008 with “Polar Blast” and in 2009 with “Beach Bash.” For each adventure, the PediDome and the Robin Bush Clinic are transformed to reflect the environment of the theme. Children attending the camp learn about the area featured and enjoy crafts, guest speakers and even teleconferencing with people from as far away as Alaska and as close as the Downtown Aquarium.

Camp A.O.K.

By August, the dog days of summer are upon us and it’s time for Camp A.O.K. (Anderson’s Older Kids) for ages 13-18 held at the Fred Lennon Youth Camp facility near Magnolia, Texas. From water sports to field games, fishing to arts and crafts, the teens spend a week participating in traditional summer camp activities.

The camp culminates with a “prom,” designed especially for those patients who have missed the opportunity to attend their own high school dance. The girls are styled by hairdressers and make-up artists and select a fancy dress to wear for the evening. The boys are all fitted for tuxedos and can have their hair “done,” too. There’s a delicious dinner followed by a DJ who spins music to dance to. Campers and counselors alike have a chance to show off their rhythm and have a wonderful time.

Collidescapes Creative Arts Workshop

Art class is a favorite for many patientsNew this summer in the Children’s Cancer Hospital is Collidescapes, a unique workshop combining art, music and writing. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, children ages 5-17 are invited to join the fun and help create an “Artistic City.” The workshop continues through August 20, but there’s already a star-spangled dachshund, tractors, and colorful birds, trees and flowers springing up in the new city. One young patient even wrote a beautiful poem/blessing for the city.

All of the summertime fun is sponsored in part by the Children’s Art Project at M. D. Anderson. The in-hospital camp is also sponsored by Smart MultiMedia and Landry’s Restaurants, and The Margaret and Edward Roberts Foundation generously funds Collidescapes.

In This Issue

Tips for Caregivers: Help Your Next Clinic Visit Run More Smoothly

A Survivor's Story: Garrett and Gatlin Stringer

Behind the Scene: Andrea Hayes-Jordan

A Patient's Voice: Emily Garcia

Medical Matters: Pediatric Research Spotlighted at National Conference

Helping Hands: Fighting Cancer One Toga Party at a Time

Family-Centered Care: We Need Your Input

Art Corner: Children's Art Project Brings Special Canine Guests for a Visit

What's New: Check out a list of upcoming events with the Children's Cancer Hospital

Support for You: Summer Programs Bring Fun Memories for Patients and Siblings

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