Ross School - Senior Projects 2010
Mentor: Marty Cooper
Title: Camp Sunshine Carnival – Fundraising Benefit
After volunteering at Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families in Casco, Maine, there was nothing more I wanted to do than give back to this wonderful community. I formed incredible relationships with everyone at the camp and realized how important it is for places like Camp Sunshine to be available, which had led me to my focus for this project. I began with creating and planning my own carnival fundraising event, raising awareness and support of Camp Sunshine. I had set up my own booths and activities at the Ross Lower School Field House on Saturday, November 14th. All of the proceeds raised went directly to sponsoring families to attend Camp Sunshine. After this benefit, I thoroughly researched and wrote an insightful paper on the impact that a child diagnosed with a terminal illness, specifically cancer, has on the entire the family. My goal for this project was to gain an understanding of what a family goes through when faced with a very difficult situation, along with spreading awareness and support of Camp Sunshine.
About 6 months ago I was set on the idea of working on some kind of psychology research for my Senior Project, not really having a clear objective as to what I would like to specifically focus on or what my product would be. I hadnŐt known then how much a camp could change my entire outlook on life. I worked with children throughout the summer, both at a local day camp and Camp Sunshine. While I sincerely enjoy spending every minute with children, it was Camp Sunshine that really stole my heart. I came across Camp Sunshine on a Google search this past spring, while in the midst of looking for charitable organizations to give back to through the Find The Cure club at Ross. Camp Sunshine is a year-round retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, relying on the support of volunteers and donations alone. It is free-of-charge for everyone who attends and is one of the only programs in the nation that focuses on each member of the families. I signed up for the oncology session in August, not knowing what to expect but looking forward to a new experience. I was excited to help make this summer so unforgettable with such deserving families who truly want to make the most of their lives. After this experience, there was nothing more I wanted to do than give back to this unbelievable place.
It was at Camp Sunshine when I realized what it was exactly that I wanted to dedicate my time to. I chose to focus my senior project on gaining an understanding of the impact that a terminal illness has on a patient and their family, as well as raising funds to support Camp Sunshine. It costs $1,500 to sponsor one family to attend Camp Sunshine and my goal was to send at least three families. I felt that knowing I could make such a tremendous difference in three families lives was worth my time and all of my efforts. After setting up my own fundraising website, I planned and organized my own carnival fundraising event, benefiting Camp Sunshine. On November 14th, 2009, at 1:00pm to 3:30pm, I held a carnival at the Ross Lower School in Bridgehampton. I thought that by involving children and their families, a carnival would be a perfect way to go about raising money for this organization. As I planned and organized each details, making sure to spend my days wisely, I gained much more knowledge about the process of putting together such a big event in such little time.
The next component of my senior project was to write up an in-depth research paper, discussing the psychological impact that a cancer diagnosis has on a patient and their family household. This paper has been a great topic for me to explore and I have come away with so much more knowledge about how each stage of cancer changes the dynamics of the family. Camp Sunshine has showed me that when a child is forced to fight for their own life, the entire family is fighting right along with them. It is so important to spend time with each family member and now that I am more aware of the situations that these families are put in, I will know be familiar with the reactions of more families I meet at Camp Sunshine.
This was a project I was so passionate about and knowing that I was able to put together a carnival, raise awareness, and sponsor 6 families to attend Camp Sunshine, has been the most rewarding feeling. I am so glad with the way everything had turned out and now that I know so much about the process of a cancer diagnosis, I will be more aware of these situations when I go back to Camp Sunshine this summer. As I was able to help make a difference in the lives of families at Camp Sunshine, they have made such a difference in my own life and I will continue to do everything and anything I can to support a place that has given my life so much meaning.
About Cancer. 20 July 2000. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.cancer.about.com>.
"All About Cancer: Family Life." Doctor-approved cancer information from ASCO | Cancer.Net. 2005. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.cancer.net>.
American Cancer Society :: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.cancer.org>.
Borgatta, Edgar F., and Rhonda J.V Montgomery. "Cancer, Quality of Life." Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2nd ed. Print.
Camp Sunshine. Print.
"Cancer: Managing Emotional Effects." National Cancer Institute - Comprehensive Cancer Information. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.cancer.gov>.
"Cancer Support: Emotional Effects of Cancer." Lance Armstrong Foundation: Home. Lance Armstrong Foundation, 1997. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.livestrong.org>.
"Cancer: Tips on Finding "Normalcy" After Cancer Diagnosis." Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living -. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.mayoclinic.com>.
EHow | How to Cope When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Cancer. Web. 06 Jan. 2010. <http://www.ehow.com>.
Picoult, Jodi. My Sister's Keeper. Atria; 1st Atria Hardcover Ed Edition, 2004. Print.
Sanchez, Evelin. "Camp Sunshine Discussions." Telephone interview. Nov. 2009.
Shelmety, Sonia. "Camp Sunshine Discussions." Personal interview. 31 Aug. 2009.
Veach, Theresa A. Cancer and the family life cycle a practitioner's guide. New York, N.Y: Brunner-Routledge, 2002. Print.
Community Member (Details)
Ashley Riley, Events Coordinator at Camp Sunshine