Helping kids delight in the wonderment and fun of their youth, despite being faced with a life-threatening illness, is what inspired the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation to start the Let Kids Be Kids Fund for children living with lupus. Learn more about activity and enrichment grants and lupus week at Camp Sunshine below.
Let Kids Be Kids helps families that need it most by providing funding for activities that inspire and encourage children diagnosed with lupus. Since it's often difficult for these children to feel “normal,” program activities are specially designed to help boost young peoples' confidence and lift their spirits. Activities range from after-school lessons in art, music, swimming, or tai chi, to attending a day camp in the summer. When body shape changes occur due to illness or treatment, the Fund can provide assistance with teen clothing needs.
Let Kids Be Kids activity and enrichment grants are also available to kids who have a parent diagnosed with lupus. These children experience difficulty coping with a sick parent who may be hospitalized and unable to participate in their childhood activities. Also, many of these families have limited resources for extracurricular activities as they are single-parent households and unable to work due to their illness. These grants are for children in the NYC-area.
Every August, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation sponsors a week at Camp Sunshine for 40 kids with lupus and their families. Located in beautiful Casco, Maine, Camp Sunshine provides respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of a child’s illness. The program is offered free of charge to all families, and includes transportation to/from Camp, all activities, food and lodging as well as 24-hour onsite medical and psychosocial support. Interested in attending? Click here for information in English and in Spanish and how to apply.
A Winning Week at Camp Sunshine
Thanks to our generous donors, we were again able to send 40 kids with lupus and their families for a week at Camp Sunshine -- where kids get to be like all the other kids, playing under medical supervision, and along with their families, find they are not alone with lupus.
This year, we were able to bring extra inspiration in the form of NBA rookie Dwayne Davis. The 23-year old lost his mom to lupus when he was just 13 and had little time for fun caring for his young siblings. Along with teaching campers some basketball skills, Dwayne also imparted important life lessons – to keep going after your dreams no matter what. We vote Dwayne MVP on Team Life Without Lupus!
What this one week out of 52 means is best expressed by the kids, their siblings, their parents and the staff who make it all happen! Here’s what one camper had to share:
I want to give back to others what was given to me and my family. This week I was able to help out two new members. I was very proud of being able to give these two young girls the same age as me support. Because in LUPUS WEEK, there is no such thing as leaving someone out.
Click here for the full story of what made Camp Sunshine so special last summer and what you and your family can find this year for Lupus Week.
- In 2012 – 40 kids like Willow felt like everyone else – not different. That’s thanks to your contributions!
- In 2011— Your generous donations helped enable the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation to send 40 families to Camp Sunshine where kids could be kids for a fun-filled week despite having lupus»
- In 2010—its 40th anniversary year—the Foundation was able to send 40 families to Camp Sunshine! See pics and read about the five days of fun and friendship that was shared »
“Going to camp and meeting so many people with lupus from my area helped me feel like I wasn't so different after all—and that I was not alone.”
– Annette Rodriguez, 18
Words from Our Camp Sunshine Parents:
"My 14-year-old has lupus," explained one mother who attended with her family. "And I can't remember the last time he was able to be himself. He has hair loss, butterfly rashes, kidney failure, and extremely low energy. But at Camp Sunshine, I found my son again...Thank you for returning my son to us. With sponsors like you—helping families like mine—you can make a difference."
Another parent said, "Thanks for all the help and happiness you brought into our family. My daughter now knows that she is not the only one fighting for her own health."
"Four months ago when my son was diagnosed with lupus," explained another parent, "he was forced to grow up quickly. He became very depressed as he struggled to understand this horrible disease that attacked his joints, kidneys, and skin. I was drained physically and emotionally, juggling work, doctor appointments, and three kids. Coming to Camp Sunshine was the best therapy for all of us. It's given our family hope, a sense of belonging—and a week full of fun and relaxation."