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Camp Sunshine brightens winter days

4:47 PM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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Casco, ME (NEWS CENTER)-- Camp Sunshine is for kids who have a life-threatening disease.  They come with their families for a week of fun and relaxation to be with others in similar situations.  It is one of the only camps in Maine that opens in the winter.

Families come from all over the Northeast during illness-specific weeks.  Families are housed on the grounds near Point Sebago, on Sebago Lake.

"You don't need to explain yourself.  We're all in the same situation," said Susan MacIntosh James, the mother of an eight year old whose cancer is in remission.

The families share in many outdoor activities including, ice skating snow shoeing and cross country skiing.  This winter, some outdoor activities have been curtailed because of a lack of snow. 

Inside, the kids play in age groups in a big rec room or get together for swimming. The happiness in the room is a far cry from the way families felt when they first learned the diagnosis.  "It was devastating," said Julie Pike of Jay, Maine.  

Families learn that a diagnosis of life-threatening illness is not necessarily a death sentence.  A mixture of families are invited each week that the camp is open.  Some are new, some are in treatment and some are in remission.

During their week at Camp Sunshine, the kids don't seem to care.  They just want to have fun. 

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