Camp Care Changes with the Times and the Impact was Powerful

Connecting and bonding with other people in similar situations is something everyone should be able to do, especially children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Camp Care, Cancer Services’ summer day camp that was founded over 20 years ago, offers opportunities for fun and socialization to children diagnosed with cancer and their siblings.

The annual summer day camp helps to normalize the impact of cancer in a safe environment, but since it was not safe to meet in-person due to COVID-19, this year’s Camp Care transitioned into a virtual event. Despite Camp Care being virtual, the Denicola family – who have attended the camp since 2016 – explained that camp was still just as meaningful.

 “It’s special because it brings so much enjoyment to our kids,” said parent Dwayne Denicola. “Camp Care is usually the highlight of their summer… The kids did not get to interact with each other as much this year… On the upside, it was an opportunity for them to see each other in some capacity and interact.”

This year, Camp Care was in the form of ‘camp in a box,’ which allowed participants to receive both activity materials and bonus supplies for each day of the week, such as sunscreen, baseball hats, books, chalk, a swamp tour kit, teddy bears and handmade blankets. As always, Camp Care box kits were provided free of charge to all participants, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Over the course of the week, 25 campers joined in live on Zoom to participate in the day’s activities, as well as seven campers who watched the videos on their own due to treatment demands. The week consisted of live guided activity days, featuring gardening led by Cancer Services staff, a circuit board activity led by the Knock Knock Children’s Museum, canvas painting led by Painting with a Twist, and a foldable microscope activity led by the St. Joseph Academy’s STEM Lab.

“The highlight of Camp Care this year was how each child had their own camp in a box,” said parent Roxane Denicola. “That box kept on giving well after the five days of camp were done.”

Camp Care also featured guest videos, including the LSU Women’s Basketball Team, WBRZ meteorologists Marisa Nuzzo and Jake Dalton,

and Liz Koh and the WAFB News Team. The week wrapped up with their annual end-of-camp party, this year in the form of a virtual masquerade party sponsored by the Karnival Krewe de Louisiane. Fox 44 anchor Chad Sabadie covered camp preparations for a special news segment.

“Camp Care has an exceptional way of really making each camper feel special and loved, and that is the impression that stays on our hearts,” Mrs. Denicola explained.

As for camp participants Presley and Colton Denicola, their favorite part of this year’s Camp Care was seeing their friends – even though it was virtual. All of the week’s activities were an added bonus.

For more information on this year’s Camp Care, please click here. See the video below for a special story about one of our campers and how she experienced camp.