Angie was 9 last summer, suffering from cancer, when thanks to volunteer pilots from Patient Airlift Services, she and two sisters, Jazmin and Analia, were flown to East Hampton airport and then transported to Shelter Island.
Here they participated in “Camp Adventure” at the Camp Quinipet campus for a respite from doctors and hospitals, spending a week just being children.
Angie won’t be back on Sunday when about 150 campers — those with life threatening illnesses and their siblings — and 120 staff members arrive. Cancer claimed her life on November 14 as she spent her final days in her Brooklyn home, less than three months after camp ended last summer.
“We pack as much as we can into every moment of Camp Adventure because much of what we do is on borrowed time,” said Melissa Firmes-Ray, Camp Adventure director and president of the nonprofit Kids Need More foundation.
“Angie made a lot of friends at Camp Adventure and at our ‘Holiday’s in July’ program last summer,” she said. “She loved baking, arts and crafts, and will be remembered for making others laugh, acting silly with her beautiful smile and for being a good friend.”
Shelter Island is ready to welcome back Camp Adventure, the program that has been installed on part of the Quinipet campus for a week each August. The camp’s theme this year is “Unicorns and Wizards,” and will be played out with costumes, games and activities.
Both the Quinipet staff and Islanders have supported Camp Adventure, providing extra housing for a few children too sick to be at camp overnight or extra staff members too numerous to be accommodated on site.
Fire Department members will again conduct a “hose down” after the annual shaving cream fight and first responders will later provide a barbecue for the campers on the same evening. Residents, including Fire Department Auxiliary members, have baked for the program’s “prom” and many have contributed funds to help the camp operate without charging families already beset with astronomical medical expenses.
Camp Adventure officials estimate it costs an average of $2,500 per camper.
While most of the staff volunteer their services, there are also costs associated with providing meals and snacks, the fee for using the Quinipet site and other costs.
For some, the stay is a complete escape from the practicalities of their conditions, while others still have to undergo medical treatments, and some can only stay part of the week because of the need for extensive therapies.
Kids Need More ongoing events throughout the year for the kids, as well as celebrating birthdays, graduations and other special events.
Parents and siblings get ongoing visits and support in coping with their struggles and, in addition to the summer week, a smaller group return to Quinipet each November to observe “Campsgiving.”
To support the program, go to the Kids Need More website at kidsneedmore.org and/or volunteer services at Camp Adventure and through the many activities Kids Need More sponsors each year.
Call Ms. Firmes-Ray at (646) 522-5517 to make arrangements.