Camp Bluebird heals cancer patients and survivors inside and out

A special camp for adults cancer survivors and patients is helping participants cope with the emotional effects of the disease.

Current breast cancer patient, Jenni Beeler, 46, said before Camp Bluebird, "I felt alone, very alone a lot."

Colon cancer survivor Sam Reed Jr., 81, said he thought his world was ending when he first heard his diagnosis.

Cervical cancer survivor Donna Simon, 53, said the camp is more about healing on the inside and finding people who can really understand what it is like to have cancer.

"They can feel sorry for you and everything, but they just don't know until it happens to them," explained Simon.

Three friends and campers are all fighting the same sickness. Beeler is battling breast cancer now for a third time. "I try to keep telling myself third time's the charm," she said cheerfully. Beeler introduced Simon to the camp and they've been regularly attendees since.

"I think we all feel that we do something to help the other people," explained Reed.

Reed participated in Camp Bluebird's inaugural year and says the comradery is unmatched and helps make the battle against cancer a little easier.

Beeler is an avid photographer and fills albums with camp pictures. The photos show smiles which can be hard to come by with such a devastating disease.

"It's just a healing, emotional thing," explained Simon.

Campers do some traditional camp activities like, "roast marshmallows, some s'mores, have fun and sing," said Barbara LeDay, Camp Bluebird coordinator.

"We all get to sleep in little bunks…laugh and giggle when they cut the lights off like little kids," laughed Simon.

This year the camp starts September 29th through October 1st. Cancer patients and survivors 18 years and older are welcome. The fee to attend is $25, but scholarships are available. Call Lake Charles Memorial Hospital at (337) 494-2121 to pre-register. The camp is sponsored by Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and AT&T volunteers.

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