Camp companions help kids cope with disease - News, Weather & Sports

Camp companions help kids cope with disease

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Robert Brooks and Brenton Clem Robert Brooks and Brenton Clem
Tristian Patterson Tristian Patterson
Charlie Obramowicz Charlie Obramowicz

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Cancer can force children – some barely old enough to talk – to learn about tough topics like "chemotherapy" and "white cell counts." At Camp Quality Kentuckiana, the goal is simple: let kids with cancer be kids again.

A big send off was held Sunday as the campers, who are battling or have battled cancer, prepare to enjoy a dip in the swimming hole, a snipe hunt, even a pie fight.

Each camper is paired with a companion, forming relationships that often last much longer than the camp itself.

Robert Brooks is using his vacation time to serve as a companion to 11-year-old Brenton Clem, who is only a few weeks removed from surgery for a liver tumor. "I really wanted to build a relationship with a young man, and have a good time," Brooks said.

For Tristian Patterson, who has been cancer-free for 12 years, it's his last year as a camper. Next year, though, he'll return as a companion. "I know how much fun I have, and a companion has a lot to do with that," he said.

The camp is offered free of charge. "It's a combination of donations, fundraisers and grants," Camp Quality Director Charlie Obramowicz said.

The camp runs until June 27.

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