Until there is a cure, there is Camp Happy Times

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Valerie Fund’s Camp Happy Times, a free one-week overnight camp for children who have or have had cancer is located at the 200-acre Tyler Hill Camp in Wayne County, Pa. The week is designed to encourage independence since, for many campers, ranging in age from 5 to 21, this is their first time away from home. Nearly 150 campers took home wonderful memories of sleeping in bunks, eating in the dining hall together and having a typical summer camp experience in the Pocono Mountains.

Returning each summer are more than a dozen counselors who have volunteered 10 or more years and another dozen who can count 20 summers spent at Camp Happy Times. Approximately 20 of the 80 volunteers are former campers bringing a very special dimension to their relationships with the children as they recognize their younger selves.

The onsite medical staff is made up of Valerie Fund doctors and nurses who administer chemo and other medications to the campers throughout the week and are available round-the-clock.

Now in its 34th year, Camp Happy Times is fully accredited by the American Camping Association and a proud member of the International Children’s Oncology Camping Association. The Valerie Fund covers the cost of everything for these pediatric cancer patients at Camp Happy Times and the cost can run up to $300,000 each summer. To learn more about camp, visit www.thevaleriefund.org/programs/cht/.

After their 9-year-old daughter Valerie succumbed to cancer, Sue and Ed Goldstein were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive superior medical care and the Valerie Fund was born. Along with a group of close friends, they began fundraising efforts from their living room — tireless work that would lead to the 1977 opening of New Jersey’s first pediatric oncology facility at Summit Overlook’s Hospital. Forty years later, the Valerie Fund’s mission remains that of supporting comprehensive health care for children battling cancer and blood disorders.

For more information, contact Bunny Flanders, director of marketing and communications, at bflanders@thevaleriefund.org.