Camp Rainbow Gold to stay open for kids with cancer

Camp Rainbow Gold to stay open for kids with cancer

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 9:44 PM

BOISE -- Hundreds of kids in Idaho fighting a difficult battle are hoping a local camp stays open.

Camp Rainbow Gold has been bringing children joy for 29 years.

It's supported by the American Cancer Society, but that's about to change.

The organization recently announced they are phasing out that support next year.

But organizers say Camp Rainbow Gold will continue no matter what.

Twelve-year-old McKenna Randis has gone to Camp Rainbow Gold every year since she was 6.

She's battled a brain tumor since she was just 3 years old.

But the pictures show the joy she experiences at camp with new friends, just like her.

"You get to go horseback riding, sometimes you get to go on trails which is really fun," said McKenna.

That joy vanished when she heard the camp's national support was getting pulled.

"Worried, concerned and upset," said McKenna.

When we told her that camp leaders want to keep the program running, she was relieved.

"Happy and hopeful and it's just nice," said McKenna.

Board Chair Tim Tyree says their goal is to keep making kids like McKenna happy each year.

"We absolutely will continue our programming and our services like we have in the past," said Tyree.

He says the American Cancer Society had a mostly administrative role in supporting the camp.

While the national group is now focusing on finding a cure, that means they are phasing out programs across the country, like Camp Rainbow Gold.

But Tyree says they are now working to get a non-profit designation so they can keep running the camps themselves.

"Our community has supported us for 29 years, we're pretty confident we are going to be able to continue that support, but now is the time for our volunteers to step up," said Tyree.

Now, organizers hope Idaho will keep donations coming to keep giving kids like McKenna the hope they need.

Camp Rainbow Gold says they are confident the funding will continue to keep the camps open through their non-profit.

They hold several camps near Sun Valley, serving about 300 kids each year, including oncology camps, sibling camps, and family camps.

There are four full-time employees and many volunteers who help make it happen.

The American Cancer Society did released the following statement about the changes:

"The American Cancer Society has made a series of strategic and difficult decisions to narrow our focus on those activities that will reach the most people and save the most lives. This has been an extremely challenging process.

The Society will transition out of children and youth camps and our college scholarship programs by the end of 2013. These programs have been wonderful services that improved the lives of those we served.  However, the Society believes our resources can be used to have a greater impact and save more lives.

At this time we continue to work with community leaders on a transition plan and do not have all the details. The American Cancer Society is focused on providing a wonderful camping experience for campers and their families in 2013 and a developing a plan that will enable camp to continue in 2014 and beyond.

The Society also continues to provide a variety of programs and resources to all people facing cancer at any age and at any stage. For more information, visit cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345."

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