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Camp Hosts Kids Battling Cancer

June 24, 2014, 5:20 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Camp Hosts Kids Battling Cancer
FLORENCE, SD -

It's a camp where fighting is encouraged and leaders wouldn't mind seeing fewer participants.

Camp Bring It On is for kids who either are battling or have battled cancer. Campers from age seven up to seventeen are participating as they encourage each other to fight cancer and hope fewer kids are diagnosed with the disease in the future.

Close to 50 campers are on the grounds of Joy Ranch in Codington County this week. Camp Bring It On has more than doubled since its first year.

"There's lots of new kids and they're younger kids too so it's not very good. They have to go through all this, too," Mason Link said.

It's not the camp Mason Link of West Bend, Iowa, is talking about. He likes that. It's the cancer he's sad to see other kids battle. Still, having experienced leukemia himself, it's nice to relate to other children who've had a similar fight.

"We did a game where we took off one shoe and we threw it and somebody grabbed your shoe and they came over and you talked about cancer and what kind you had and when you had it," Riley Carlson said.

Some of the campers still have cancer. Rather than a lone camp nurse, Camp Bring It On has a pediatric oncologist and three pediatric oncology nurses. They can give some forms of treatment at the camp to kids who are currently fighting cancer.

"It's a pretty awesome camp. You just get to be yourself and have fun," Logan Landsem said.

Organizers say this is the largest camp to date. They want to see any eligible child participate but wouldn't mind seeing fewer eligible kids.

"It would be nice if there was never the C/cancer-word ever again but this is a place for unity, love and growth for the kids and educational and therapeutic," Sanford Camping Coordinator Marilee Kontz said.

This is the camp's ninth year. It serves kids from across South Dakota and some from surrounding states as well.

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