June 25, 2014
Children with Cancer to Attend SIU Med School’s Camp COCO
The 29th annual Camp COCO will host 156 children with cancer and other blood disorders during its one-week session July 6 – 11. A project of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, the camp will be held at the Timber Pointe Outdoor Conference Center on Lake Bloomington. The theme for this year’s camp is “We Will Rock You.”
(Note – the campers’ 60 different hometowns are listed at the end of this release as well as details about covering camp.)
The campers, ages 5 – 17, receive special attention from a dozen of SIU’s pediatric staff members who spend the week providing medical care and sharing time with their patients and their patient’s siblings who attend. Health professionals who treat some of the campers at the St. Jude’s Affiliate in Peoria, as well as community volunteers from Springfield also provide care and assistance.
“The campers get a second chance at the childhood they have lost during the camp’s week of activities, giving them a time to just have fun. The hard work of volunteers and the contributors make this possible,” said Dr. Gregory P. Brandt, SIU associate professor of pediatrics and camp medical director. Brandt is director of SIU’s pediatric hematology/oncology division and a member of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU. He works with his pediatric team and staff from St. John’s Children’s Hospital and those from St. Jude’s to provide medical support to the camp. Generous donations cover the cost for campers to attend.
Nearly 100 camps are listed with Children’s Oncology Camps of America, which coordinates communication between the various camps and helps develop guidelines for their operations. Two other Illinois camps are located in the Chicagoland area.
The SIU pediatrics department has established the COCO Children’s Cancer Fund, which supports the camp as well as year-round projects for patients being treated for hematological and oncological diseases. More than 600 individuals, service clubs and businesses contributed to the fund in support of this year’s camp.
Contributions to the COCO Children’s Cancer Fund can be made payable to and mailed to the Camp COCO/SIU Foundation, P.O. Box 19666, Springfield, Ill. 62794-9666, 217-545-2955. Online donations can be made at https://www.siuf.org/making-a-gift/give-online/.
Note to the Media: At the request of the camp director and as a courtesy to the children, all media visits must be scheduled in advance through SIU’s Office of Public Affairs, 217-545-2155 (or on the weekend – Bet Spence, 217-971-8849 cell). Monday through Thursday are the best days for interviews at camp. Hometowns for Camp COCO campers are listed below. We do not release names of campers in advance, but we will query campers about specific interview requests. Most are agreeable to interviews and photos.
The camp is located north of Bloomington-Normal on Lake Bloomington. Most media visitors can take I-55 northbound and exit on I-39 or Highway 51 North. Go 4.5 miles to the Hudson exit. Turn east (right) and go through town and 3 miles into the country to the stop sign at 1700 East. Go north (left) 1.5 miles to county road 2350 North. Turn east (right) and go for 2 miles. The Timber Pointe Outdoor Center’s sign is just after the bridge on the left. Look for the large stone pillars and Timber Pointe Outdoor Center sign at the entrance.
Hometowns for Camp COCO campers