I couldn't find a link to this, so I'm lifting it right off of the American Cancer Socity email newsletter. Please don't sue me/put me in jail. It's about the summer camp they have for kids who are cancer survivors. Sam, the doctor in the article, is the brother of my friend Mary Katherine, and my friend Jennifer has been very active with Camp Rainbow over the past 7 or 8 years. Jen's the one who sent me the newsletter article. I figure it's worth a plug, the camp is a great service for the kids who go. And anybody who knows me knows that I've seen cancer touch a lot of lives, and anything we can do to make things a little sunnier for surviors deserves support!
from the American Cancer Society email In Touch newsletter dtd 07/2007:
Camp Rainbow from a Doctor's Perspective
Dr. Sam Cole graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center last year. He now often works 30 hour shifts, constantly studies to keep up with modern medicine, and still must find time to eat, sleep, and enjoy life outside the hospital. And yet, for the second year, he has made time to volunteer at the American Cancer Society's Camp Rainbow.
Although Sam does bandage the occasional scraped knee or elbow at camp, he says the best part of being there is that it gives him a break from being surrounded by the medical world. "During med school, I did a weeklong rotation in the cancer clinic. Some campers were actually in the clinic during my time there, so I've seen them as very sick patients in a hospital, and also as regular kids at summer camp. Camp isn't 'medical' for sure, and that's one of the great things about it," he says.
Camp is a learning experience for the counselors as much as the campers, he says. "The kids inspire me because I see the positive results of modern medicine and what someone in my field is doing. I'm not a pediatric oncologist, but I hope that I can provide the same kind of care to my patients in a different setting," said Cole.
Sam fondly speaks of the Camp Rainbow campers as if they are the counselors, not him. "Life as a teenager and 'tweenager' is hard enough. Seeing the kids at camp leading somewhat normal lives makes my daily issues seem pretty small. They really encourage me to do good, and take care of my patients the best that I can."
Sam hopes that his busy schedule will allow him to continue volunteering for the American Cancer Society. "Being at Camp Rainbow teaches you something about the human spirit. You see that doctors are not just treating generic patients in the hospital or in medical school -- they are real people with real lives who do things like go to summer camp," he says. "They teach me to remember that all of my patients are real people too."
To learn more about volunteering with Camp Rainbow, please contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345.