Today we spent a service day visiting Camp Mak-A-Dream in Gold Creek, Montana. The camp is a cost-free camp for children and young adults affected by cancer. They hold a number of camps throughout the year, focusing on making everyone feel normal and working specifically with the young adults on life skills like cooking.
Being that it was the final day of the “children” camp (6-14), we were only able to stay for a short while. Jennifer, the woman I worked with to plan the event, gave us a tour of the campus and told us a lot about how the camp works. Basically the premise is this: all their lives these children are treated as being “special” because they have cancer. But at camp they are just normal kids – there is no special treatment and they cannot rely on “playing the cancer card” to get themselves out of things. On the flip-side they get to feel exactly like a normal kid for a week!
We also learned a lot about RATPOD (Ride Around the Pioneers in One Day), the camp’s biggest fundraising event. Every year this 130 mile bicycle event “sells out” as registration moves to the wait-list in the first 15 minutes. Annually, it raises $500,000 for Camp Mak-A-Dream. I have decided that no matter where I find myself in the coming months or years, I will do long cycling event to raise money for a good cause. Perhaps RATPOD if I am on the West Coast, or the Seagull Century with some of the 4K riders if I am on the East Coast. Either way, I need to keep these legs in shape 😉