Health Team

Camp is geared towards children with chronic illnesses

Posted July 22, 2010 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2010 6:42 p.m. EDT

— Camp Kaleidoscope has long been a tradition for some young patients of Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center.

The children who are invited there have chronic medical conditions that most camps aren't equipped to handle.

“If you ever get sick, we've got like lots of doctors here, so that's why I like this camp,” camper Tyrus Rice said.

Doctors, registered nurses and medical students make sure campers get their daily medications and keep a close eye on each child.

“It's been great. It's been like a non-stop learning experience, and I love it,” Duke University medical student Donna Simmons said. “It's like the continuity of care that we don't get in medical school.”

Duke pediatric resident Dr. Brian Tinch is in his fifth year with the program.

“To me, it's just uplifting to see these kids able to live life to the fullest,” Tinch said.

Campers are dealing with illnesses including heart disease, asthma and sickle cell anemia, he said. Some patients have even had bone marrow transplants.

The camp gives the children a chance to relax and have fun. They go swimming, boating, play games and enjoy daily hikes.

“It’s like going to a normal camp, but then adding even extra fun,” camper Joseph Watkins said.

The camp is held at Camp Graham on Kerr Lake for three weeks in July. Each week is targeted to a different age group.

The camp is free to attend because of donations through the children’s hospital.