Sudbury Camp Casco wins grant to support summer camp for children with cancer
SUDBURY — For children affected by cancer, life becomes unpredictable.
“A lot of childhood cancer and survival is inconsistent,” said Erin Fletcher Stern, CEO and director of Camp Casco. “It’s hard to expect what your tomorrow will be like.”
Camp Casco is a week-long summer camp for children with cancer where the fun of summer overshadows their diagnoses. Kids focus on just being kids, whether that means water balloon fights or whipping a counselor in the face with a pie, Stern said.
For this unique population, the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded an already very stressful and lonely experience, Stern said, which makes Camp Casco especially important.
“We believe every child should experience summer camp,” she said. “It builds resilience, independence, self-esteem and new skills. It’s just a safe place for a lot of our kids.”
This year, when camp opens for the first time since the pandemic began, Camp Casco can accommodate an additional 10 children – it typically accommodates 42. The new slots are possible after the camp wins a four-year competitive grant. .
Camp Casco will receive $100,000 over four years under the Cummings Foundation’s $25 million grant program. Selected from 580 applicants, the camp is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive funding.
The money will support Camp Casco’s overnight camp for childhood cancer patients and survivors ages 7-17. The additional 10 places will be fully funded for the next four years.
The Cummings Foundations $25 million grant program supports nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. The Cummings Foundation, a private entity based in Woburn, aims to give back to the area where it has commercial properties, according to a news release about the grants program.
Its properties are managed by its subsidiary, Cummings Properties. The Woburn-based commercial real estate company leases and manages 11 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.
“We are so fortunate in Greater Boston to have such effective nonprofits, and a multitude of talented and dedicated professionals and volunteers to run them,” said Joyce Vyriotes, executive director of the Cummings Foundation. , in a press release. “We are indebted to them for the work they do every day to meet basic needs, remove barriers to education and health resources, and work for a more equitable society.”
The continued support will help ensure that children with cancer have a safe space where they can come back and build a strong community.
“We don’t want it to be just a one-time thing,” Stern said. “We want to make it a space where they know, ‘Every year I’m going to come back to Camp Casco until I’m 18, and then I’ll come back as a counselor. “”