Summer camp’s coming up for thousands of Iowa kids, but one special camp invites youngsters who don’t often have the opportunity. Missy Schreiber is a co-director of “Camp Quality Heartland,” designed for the needs of kids with cancer. When children are going through therapy and right afterwards they often have lots of medical needs and special medications. Schreiber’s a trained nurse and understands how a young patient may need special attention even if he or she can leave the hospital. The camp answers a need for a place where there are nurses trained in pediatric oncology on duty 24 hours, so parents and sick kids know there’s someone there skilled in the therapy they need. Camp Quality Heartland is a nonprofit organization in Nebraska and Iowa that invites kids up to 18 who might miss out on regular summer camp because of their special medical needs. It’s also an opportunity for brothers and sisters of sick kids who may miss out on a lot. They hope to touch the whole family, bringing a sibling who’s often “on the side” because of the needs of a kid with cancer, let them spend time laughing and making memories and also allowing parents time to rebound and spend time without their kids. The camp’s free, supported by donations and corporate sponsors so it won’t be another financial burden on families dealing with a child’s medical bills. The camp will take as many kids as possible, each paired with an adult companion who’s passed background checks and had training, so the more volunteer adults, the more kids can come to camp and “have a special friend.” Activities for each 4-day session include camp stuff, fishing, swimming, canoing…and occasional special events like rides in a tethered hot-air balloon. The camp’s located in Guthrie Center, Iowa and this year’s session runs from June 23 through the 27th.
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