Balloons floating to the sky and parachutists drifting to Earth from an airplane sound like a dream … at Camp Happy Days this dream, however, was made into a reality.
These activities were just some in a long list of fun adventures Camp Happy Days participants had the opportunity to enjoy from July 1-7 at the Robert M. Cooper 4-H Leadership Center in Summerton.
Camp Happy Days is a free, weeklong camp for children suffering from cancer between the ages of 4-16 (17 for those who never attended the camp) and their siblings.
Nearly 190 campers from all over South Carolina attended the camp this year. The theme this year was “The Mall –Where Our Campers are the Center of it All.”
Every day was named for a different theme based around the shopping mall. The days included the “Grand Opening” on Sunday, “Fins, Feathers & Fur Pet Emporium” on Monday, “Pump Up the Volume: Music, Movies & More” on Tuesday, “Boots, Hats & All That” Western Store on Wednesday, “Sugar & Spice Sweet Shop” and “It’s a Bling Thing Jewelry Shop” on Thursday, “Derby & Donuts Shop” on Friday, and “Clearance Sale” on Friday.
There were plenty of outdoor and on-the-water activities, as well as recreational and educational activities focusing on team building and promoting self-esteem, said Eleanor Smythe, executive director of Camp Happy Days.
Smythe said that 45 new families were added this year. She said that what is different about Camp Happy Days is that they are not affiliated with any specific hospital.
“We take in children from any location in South Carolina and any hospital that they’ve been treated in,” Smythe said.
Smythe said that many times a hospital will allow a child that is staying there for a lengthy period or is homebound to attend the camp, knowing that it provides a child the opportunity for them to get away for some good clean fun.
Jeremiah, 12, was one of the children who had the privilege of enjoying camp this year.
Jeremiah suffers from a rare type of cancer. He was diagnosed in July 2011, and went through surgery and chemotherapy. He completed chemotherapy treatments this June.
Jeremiah said that the camp made him feel a part of a bond that he shared with others.
“I enjoyed everything about the camp, making new friends and just having fun,” he said.
For more information on the camp visit www.camphappydays.com.