Camp brings cheer for families

19:13, Nov 25 2012
Brayden Te Amo, 10, of Invercargill, and Pukerau senior firefighter Bernie Lieshout
PUMPED UP: Brayden Te Amo, 10, of Invercargill, and Pukerau senior firefighter Bernie Lieshout test the fire hose at a child cancer camp near Gore.

More than 50 parents and children affected by cancer attended an action-packed camp in Pukerau, near Gore, at the weekend.

It was the first time child cancer organisations, Camp Quality and the Child Cancer Foundation, came together to deliver a two-day camp to celebrate Christmas.

Child Cancer Foundation Otago Southland regional chairwoman Karen Heslip said the camp was a great outing for families that had battled with cancer.

"The kids can mingle and have some fun without being in hospital.

"They get to meet other families that could be in the same situation," she said.

The families that stayed overnight were served an early Christmas dinner and watched fireworks by a bonfire.

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There were plenty of activities to keep the children busy during the day, including a flying fox and waterslide.

A highlight was a demonstration by the Pukerau fire service on how to use their fire equipment.

Some children took hold of the fire hose as it powered water through the trees while others took a seat in the fire engine.

Santa also made a visit to give presents to the children and parents were given a food hamper with locally donated produce.

Organising committee member Sharon Stewart said it was a nice gesture to give parents a gift as well as the children.

"It's good to recognise and acknowledge the difficulties they have," she said.

Invercargill boy Brayden Te Amo, 10, said the camp was heaps of fun and a good chance to play and make new friends.

Tuatapere parent Tracy Mulgrew said she went to the camp with her husband, Bill, and two sons Curtis, 10, and Travis 13, to have some fun and meet new people.

Her daughter lost her battle with leukemia 11 years ago and it was good to talk to other parents whose children had suffered from the same condition, she said.

Camp Quality is hosting a week-long camp in Queenstown from January 5 to 7.

The Southland Times