CAMP FOR SPECIAL KIDS: THEY’VE GOT HIGH HOPES

What did you learn at summer camp as a child: How to shoot a bow and arrow? How to bait a hook? How to ride a
horse?

Chances are, whatever you learned, it wasn’t as valuable as the lessons that 65 children learned this summer at Camp
Esperanza.

Oh, they learned the usual camp activities, but in addition, they learned how to hope-something many of them hadn’t
done in a long time. All of the children at Camp Esperanza have cancer.

The week-long session was held at Camp Sweeney near Gainesville. The participants were children 6 to 16 years old
who were being treated at the hematology/oncology clinic at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

A staff of 35 counselors joined the children (many of these adults from the Dallas area used vacation leave from
their positions at banks, various corporations and churches to help out). Several junior counselors were older
patients whose cancers were in remission. Dr. Peggy Sartain of the center provided medical assistance and
gave the children their chemotherapy treatments.

The camp was offered free of charge, mostly through donations from the Robert Bridewell Memorial Fund.
Bridewell was a Dallas businessman who died of cancer in May 1982 at the age of 4l.

Before his death, he; his wife, Sandra; and their six children made plans for the foundation. A little more than a
year later, the camp was established.

“We started planning this before Bob died,” Mrs. Bridewell says, “and we knew it would be very special; but this is
beyond all expectations. Our work here helps take away our pain and hurting.”

Mrs. Bridewell says that next year they hope the camp will offer several additional sessions, including one
for siblings of children with cancer and a “family week,” in which cancer patients can spend time not only with
their own families but also with other families dealing with cancer.

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