Local summer camp gives kids ‘new hope’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Children dealing with a family member’s cancer diagnosis or treatment now have somewhere to turn for support.

The Alabama Foundation for Oncology (AFO) is sponsoring Camp Newhope, a summer camp for kids who have a family member suffering from cancer. The camp will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the YMCA Camp Hargis in Chelsea. The program is open to children ages 6-18.

&uot;When someone in a family is diagnosed with cancer, it not only affects them, it affects the whole family,&uot; the foundation’s web site said. &uot;Camp Newhope helps children during this difficult and confusing time.&uot;

The camp will feature group sharing times, big group games, artistic expression and art therapy exercises and numerous outdoor activities.

&uot;These activities are used to bring children closer to understand their fears and concerns about cancer and offer a supportive and nurturing camp environment,&uot; the web site stated. All of the activities for the event were developed and coordinated by trained counselors and focus on promoting discussions about cancer.

The local Heart of Dixie HOG chapter will sponsor a motorcycle ride from Heart of Dixie Harley-Davidson that is scheduled to travel from the store in Pelham to Camp Hargis on Saturday to provide encouragement for the Newhope campers and promote community support for the program. The ride is scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. with registration beginning at 12 p.m. Riders at the event will be asked to make a donation to Camp Newhope.

The ride’s director, Crystal Bedwell, has a special place in her heart for the children who attend Camp Newhope because both her parents are cancer survivors.

&uot;I’ve went through what these children have been through at a very young age so I know how much it means to them,&uot; Bedwell said. &uot;The children need this camp.&uot;

Bedwell said that without the bikers’ support and local sponsors, the camp would not be able to take place. In past years the ride has brought out 30-40 bikes and Bedwell hopes more riders will come out and support the Newhope cause.

&uot;We hope to have a bigger crowd then we’ve ever had before,&uot; she said.

Registration is required for Camp Newhope and forms are available by calling 877-2225 or by visiting the AFO website at www.alfoundationforoncology.org.

The AFO is also accepting donations to support the camp and you can learn more by visiting the organization’s website