Summer camp helping to ease the pain of cancer treatment

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Summer camp is the highlight in any child's young life, but for these kids, Camp Sunshine has extra special meaning. All 95 campers are either a Valley Children's Hospital cancer patient or their sibling.

Emily Carpenter, 12, said, "It is super fun here cause we all connect."

For one week every year, campers can forget about their worries, away from doctors and nurses and enjoy Huntington Lake, participate in some activities, or hang out with other kids who might be going through similar experiences.

Soren Jacobsen, now 14-years-old, has been attending Camp Sunshine since he was eight.

"It just makes me happy that someone knows that I had cancer and they went through it, and I went thru it, and we can just hang out and have fun."

Jacobsen says the camp has taught him how to persevere even in the face of cancer.

"Never give up and keep pushing through all of the pain and everything, and you'll succeed."

While the cost to send one child to camp for a week is $600, all kids visit Camp Sunshine for free thru fundraisers and donations.

Camp Sunshine Director Stephanie Scharbach has been one of the program's biggest supporters over the years.

"It is all worth it. All the training all the fundraising everything we do year-round to prepare for this one week is 100 percent worth it when I see the smile on their faces."

She started attending the camp in 1995 alongside her younger brother who had a cancerous tumor removed at a young age.

"It was just a great place to connect with everyone, and it still is, and that's my goal for the kids this week."

Camp Sunshine wraps up its 33rd year in Central California when it comes to close Saturday at Huntington Lake.
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