It’s the one week out of the year when children with cancer can leave their worries behind them and just have fun laughing, painting, fishing and even sleeping outside.

    It’s Kay’s Kamp, Delaware’s first oncology camp for children ages 5 to 17, and this year it will be right here in Middletown.


    It’s the one week out of the year when children with cancer can leave their worries behind them and just have fun laughing, painting, fishing and even sleeping outside.
    It’s Kay’s Kamp, Delaware’s first oncology camp for children ages 5 to 17, and this year it will be right here in Middletown.
    Bill and Laurie Warren of Bear founded the camp last year in honor of their daughter Kaylyn, who lost her 17-month battle with leukemia in March 2007 when she was 18 years old.
    Laurie said after Kaylyn became sick, she gave up her dream to one day open a bed and breakfast to instead open a free camp for kids to provide children with cancer a little bit of normalcy for one week.
    “The one thing about chemotherapy is you don’t feel normal anymore,” Laurie said. “These kids have to grow up so fast. It’s tough.”
    She said 11 children attended the camp last August, when it was held at the St. Joseph’s Center for Community Service in Clayton. This year, the camp will be held at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, and 27 campers have signed up as of July 22. The overnight camp will run from Saturday, Aug. 7 to Saturday, Aug. 14.
    Kay’s Kamp offers children the same activities they would find at any other camp, except here there is round-the-clock medical care and treatment, with doctors and nurses on site for those that need it.
    Laurie said a new theme takes over the camp each year, and this year campers will have fun exploring the worlds of “Toy Story,” “Indiana Jones,” and “Star Wars,” as Kay’s Kamp goes to the movies.
    Cindy Chatham, a special activities counselor at the camp, said from archery to pottery, there’s always something going on.
    “It’s awful to think a child has to go through what these kids have to go through, but they are still kids and they still love to have fun, giggle, be silly and carry on,” she said. “It’s so exciting to see them thrilled about every single thing.”
    Chatham said her son Derrick, who is also a counselor, was best friends with Kaylyn, and they can’t imagine not being involved in the camp.
    “We wanted to be a part of it because she was such a big part of our life,” she said. “It holds a special place in my heart, and as long as I live, I’m going to be part of it.”
    Scott Wilcox, president of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Delaware Chapter, said his 9-year-old son Justin attended camp last year and will return this year.
    “[The kids can] relate to what each other are going through,” he said. “This lets children affected by the disease know what’s out there.”
    Justin said he enjoys camp and is excited to take part in archery and fishing again this year.
    “I’m happy,” he said. “[I get to] see a bunch of other campers.”
    Laurie said Kaylyn would be proud to see her dream in action for the second year in a row and that many kids are getting a great experience because of it.
    “It’s strange because I keep thinking she would love to be here for this, but then I think that if Kaylyn hadn’t gone through what she went through, this camp wouldn’t be here.”

Editor Shauna McVey contributed to this article