ARAPAHOE, N.C. (WNCT) – Two camps in Arapahoe bring hope to kids with chronic illnesses. Camp Hope and Camp Rainbow give children with Sickle Cell Disease, Cancer, and Hemophilia the chance to have fun at the week long summer camp.
Benjamin Grubbs has been coming to Camp Don Lee for 11 years. Camp Hope and Camp Rainbow give children with Sickle Cell disease, Cancer, and Hemophilia a free week to be a kid.
“When you come here you meet people just like you and people who have stuff like cancer that worse than you, and you can encourage them and they can encourage you,” said Grubbs.
Grubbs was born with Hemophilia and feels like he can be a mentor to younger kids who may be nervous being away from their parents for a week.
“Me being older, I’m experienced and a little kid here who has hemophilia, and you can encourage them and show them like that just because you have hemophilia doesn’t mean you can be stopped. You encourage them and tell them that everything is going to be alright, and you’re not going to be stopped. ”
Camp counselor Michael Mendoza says the camp is all about having a good time and making new friends.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to realize that they are normal kids and it’s important that they realize that their disease doesn’t have to hold them back at all. It’s a good opportunity for them to have just fun.”
Kids are able to meet friends from other counties like Lenoir, Craven and Pitt.
“Back home, they don’t really have the opportunity to hang out with people who have a similar disease and here they can kind of come together and they know where they are coming from and they have that common bond, they can look past it,” said Mendoza.
Grubbs says he made lifelong friends who he will keep in touch with.
“We experience things, we love each other and we would do anything for each other.”
The summer camp is free for children.it costs 900 dollars per child which is paid solely through donations.