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Let Me Introduce You To Wyoming’s First Childhood Cancer Camp, Camp Courage Wyoming

Jason’s Friends Foundation

I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with Jason’s Friends Foundation over the past 15 years. The foundation got started to help families with kids fighting childhood cancers and other catastrophic diseases. Lisa & Rocky Eades know the pain of losing a child to this dreadful disease.It was Lisa’s vision to help other families by taking the burden of bills, rent payments and other life problems away from parents, so they could put all their energy on their sick child. Jason’s Friends has helped so many families throughout the State of Wyoming over the past 15 plus years and garnered many supporters. Operating the foundation takes a lot of time, energy and patience, but I’ve never heard Lisa complain or turn away a family.

In many conversations with Lisa, she’s mentioned, “It would be wonderful if we had a camp for cancer kids and their families to be able to getaway with other families,” she thought it would be cathartic for parents and kids. It takes time to make things come to fruition, however, the diligence of many hard working individuals has paid off… we now have our own camp in Wyoming and Lisa is ecstatic!!! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jason’s Friends is a volunteer organization.

Camp Courage Wyoming was created to bring childhood cancer patients and their loved ones together to provide a connection here in our state for these families,” said Jessica Perez, Wyoming Comprehensive Cancer Control Program outreach coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Health.

The first Camp Courage Wyoming was held in August 2012 for 38 campers from 10 families. One adult camper said “…for me as a father with all my son has been through, it was really amazing to get to talk to other fathers that have gone through similar things. I realize I am not alone and I am normal in the way I feel…”

Perez said from 2001 through 2010, there were 218 cases of cancer diagnosed in children and adolescents in Wyoming, an average of 22 cases per year. “There are no cancer programs or hospitals in Wyoming staffed and equipped to handle these special cases and children must travel out of state to receive care and treatment,” she said.

The camp was born through a partnership between Jason’s Friends Foundation and the Wyoming Comprehensive Cancer Control Consortium, and was funded through sales of a cancer survivor’s cookbook, corporate sponsorships and private donations of time and materials. These efforts allowed the families to attend the camp free of charge.

Crooked Creek Guest Ranch near Dubois hosted last year’s camp and supported the effort by closing their guest ranch to the public and providing staff, lodging, meals and activities at low rates. “We were very appreciative of their help, as well as of the support provided by other sponsors and volunteers,” Perez said.

For Wyoming families touched by pediatric cancer interested in participating in this year’s camp, applications are available online at www.fightcancerwy.com. The deadline to apply is May 17.

For more information about attending or supporting Camp Courage Wyoming near Dubois please contact Perez at Jessica.perez@wyo.gov or (307)777-7362.

 

 

 

 

 

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