Our campers are worth #MoreThan4: Camp Casco at the White House

Our short time as an organization has been a whirlwind, but we'd like to take a step back for a minute and address an issue that deeply impacts every camper and family that we serve: the lack of national funding for childhood cancer research.

Childhood cancer advocacy group The Truth 365 explains:

Cancer kills more than 2,500 children in our country every year. Over 13,500 kids will be diagnosed with cancer in the next 365 days. Though these numbers are significant, the potential market is too small to attract the attention of private industry. This makes the role of the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute (NCI) especially critical yet approximately 4% percent of its annual budget is dedicated to childhood cancer. The result is that children are dying every day waiting for promising new treatments that lack funding.... Meanwhile the public considers childhood cancer as a largely solved problem and this is far from the truth.
— The Truth 365

The following graphic from St. Baldricks illustrates the average number of years of life lost to cancer, from 15 for adults to a mind-blowing 71 years of life lost by children! There is no question that kids battling childhood cancers deserve better treatment options and #MoreThan4 percent of NCI funding. There is a significant need to increase awareness of the long-term struggles childhood cancer patients face, and that this disease is still a very real problem, far from being solved.

Our Head Counselor, Victoria "Scout" Valencia, attended the Pediatric Cancer Candlelight Vigil in front of the White House on October 17, 2015, to represent Camp Casco in the fight to make pediatric cancer research funding a national priority. Below, she explains why it was more important than ever to attend the vigil, rescheduled after its original event on September 19 was inexplicably shut down:

[The vigil] had originally been scheduled in September during Childhood Cancer Awareness month. But due to unnamed security reasons the Secret Service actually kicked the people in attendance out of the park for hours, many who were never able to retrieve their things, etc.

I was not able to attend the first event but I had wanted to. And felt it was especially important to attend the rescheduled event because pediatric cancer is often not the first priority when it comes to cancer research, funding and awareness. In fact the reason this vigil was started was because the White House refused to go gold for pediatric cancer (as it has gone pink for breast cancer, rainbow for marriage equality, etc) so this group decided to hold a candlelight vigil instead.

I thought it was important to attend the rescheduled event. Fighting the battle against pediatric cancer can be challenging and exhausting. But I felt the organization’s persistence not to give up on the event was symbolic of the entire pediatric cancer community’s unwillingness to give up in the battle against pediatric cancer. And it was important for me to be there for that reason.

A HUGE thank you to Scout for representing Camp Casco at this incredibly important event, and to all who refuse to be discouraged by the ongoing fight against childhood cancer. We will continue to stand up for our campers, our families, and the childhood cancer community. If you're ready to join the fight, check out this page to find out what you can do to help.