FAIRFIELD, Idaho — Camp Rainbow Gold, an Idaho nonprofit organization that serves children diagnosed with cancer, announced it is joining forces with former NFL quarterback Carson Palmer.
The 2002 Heisman Trophy winner and University of Southern California alum now lives in the Gem State. Palmer is turning his focus to serving Idaho youth as the spokesperson for Camp Rainbow Gold's new capital campaign to "Heal Idaho."
Palmer and the nonprofit plan to build Hidden Paradise, Idaho's first medical camp. Hidden Paradise will serve as a space for children with medical needs and their families to connect with nature.
The 15-year NFL veteran hung up the cleats in January 2018. According to Camp Rainbow Gold, Palmer and his family now call Sun Valley home.
The nonprofit said Palmer's experience in the Gem State -- and love for Idaho's mountains, forests and rivers -- pushed him to join the organization to ensure children can enjoy time with their peers outside at the camp and get a "chance to be a kid."
"In my career, I've been surrounded by men who many characterize as some of the toughest 'heroes' on earth," Palmer said. "These children have gone through years of chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation or live with other medical challenges—they are the true heroes. They are the ones I sit in awe of. And I'm determined to do what I can to make up for the time they've lost getting to just be kids."
Hidden Paradise will be built on 172 acres outside of Fairfield. Camp Rainbow Gold said $9 million has been raised to improve its current buildings and build a health center.
Plans for Hidden Paradise also include 12 cabins, shower houses, a ropes course and three bike trails.
"We've made incredible strides at Hidden Paradise. Two years ahead of schedule we are welcoming 10 camps to the property this summer—five of them from other nonprofit organizations. And we are just getting started," Camp Rainbow Gold CEO and Executive Director, Elizabeth Lizberg, said. "Having Carson on our team will take us to the next level and help rally even more support as we continue to push this vision for this camp forward."
Camp Rainbow Gold needs to raise an additional $7 million for future construction, to build a main lodge and maintain existed buildings. To join the nonprofit's capital campaign, visit the Hidden Paradise website.
"I'm ready to pick up a hammer and get this camp built—a camp that will serve so many children, families, and adults from across Idaho," Palmer said. "Who wants to join me?"
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