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Lake Texoma camp gives kids a break from illnesses

Camp Cavett provides fun activities for children who have life-threatening and chronic illnesses.
by Bryan Painter Published: July 14, 2013

On Saturday, they aim for about 90 boats provided by volunteers, said Gene Gilliland, of the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters Club.

“That's because it's a tournament situation where the kids get all kinds of trophies,” Cavett said. “And with the bass boats, we're limited to about two kids per boat.”

The overall camp, based nearby at the Cross Point United Methodist Camp, requires about 200 volunteers, which includes nurses and doctors, Cavett said.

“These kids have chronic illnesses like cancer, cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease and others,” he said. “They all have the common things that every chronic illness would have. You've got to take your medicine, you've got to watch your diet and there are all of these limitations. At this camp we want to teach them how to get out in life, so we have their medications, but we just put it like ‘We can't get into the water until everyone takes their medicine.'

“Also you put them together with the different chronic illnesses. They see what others are experiencing.”

Here they aren't referred to by their illness, but rather the name on their name tags.

Brianna Beck, 16, who has severe asthma, is at her sixth camp. Her mother, Anne Beck, is a nurse at Children's Hospital and volunteers at the camp, as does Brianna's sister, Alyssa, 15.

“It's nice because you don't have to worry about being defined by an illness,” Brianna said. “You're not given sympathy just because you're sick or because you have something wrong with you.

“You're actually seen as a person, and that is good.”