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Forgetting cancer at camp

Campers enjoy a carnival at Camp Burton last week.  - Natalie Martin/Staff Photo
Campers enjoy a carnival at Camp Burton last week.
— image credit: Natalie Martin/Staff Photo

After a funding crisis put Camp Goodtimes’ future at risk, last week a troupe of young cancer patients, survivors and their siblings again arrived in Burton for a week of fun, support and “a chance to be kids,” according to Rodney Gibson, a counselor at the camp. Another staff member called the camp “the only thing that doesn’t suck about cancer.”

Last summer the American Cancer Society announced it would no longer fund Camp Goodtimes and similar summer camps across the country, instead focusing the money on research. Staff, campers and parents quickly formed a nonprofit and staged an ambitious fundraising effort to bring in $400,000 to make the camp, which is free for kids 7 through 17, happen again this year. Funds came in through grants as well as private donations.

“We got in by the skin of our teeth,” said camp director Carol Mastenbrook. The new nonprofit, The Goodtimes Project, will now focus its efforts on finding large sponsors who can commit to annual donations to sustain the camp.

On Thursday, campers enjoyed a carnival, pictured above. See page 15 for more photos of the afternoon.

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