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Faces of The Fellowship: Gal

Sunrise Day Camps, a Fellowship-sponsored camp organization for kids in Israel, gives children suffering from illness or physical disabilities the chance to participate in fun summer activities without sacrificing medical care. They have a trained medical team ready to assist any campers who need help. The parents are so grateful to see their kids making friends and having fun. Sima, a mother of one of the campers, wrote the following letter thanking The Fellowship for all the joy the camp has brought her son. Gal is 16 years old and about to start 11th grade. He got neuroblastoma cancer over 10 years ago when he was just starting 1st grade.Gal is very friendly and active, but due to his illness he couldn't go to school and take part in social activities. The treatments damaged his immune system and he had to avoid meeting other children and taking part in summer activities with his friends.In 2010, Sunrise Day Camp in Israel was established and provided an answer to this need. Gal was one of the first children to join the day camp.Following the camp's success, the parents themselves marketed the camp through word of mouth. The number of participants grows every year and this year they even opened a new day camp in Be'er Sheva to serve children from the south.Siblings of the sick children can also join the camps and it is probably the only activity which accepts the healthy and sick children together, leaving time for their parents to finally rest a little.Gal enjoys the camps so much! He likes the sports activities, swimming, and other activities he shares with children his age in a safe and loving environment – something that was impossible before since he couldn’t join regular day camps due to his illness. When Gal was wheelchair bound it didn’t prevent him from participating thanks to an instructor who was with him the entire time and took care of him.In the morning he is excited to go to camp, even though he has to wake up early to get on the special bus, which picks him up from our home. The open space of the camp enables a respite from the hospital and parents and makes time for positive experiences. The children get back home with a smile on their faces and full of energy, waiting for the next day when they will return to the camp and enjoy various activities and workshops.Gal grew up and took part in the camp’s junior counselor training program for 16 year olds, another amazing activity for the older children, which enabled Gal to experience something children his age experience through the informal education programs. The course improved Gal's self-confidence and filled him with the feeling that he can take part in these sorts of activities like all other children and even assist other sick children. After all this time of others taking care of him, he finally has the ability to take care of others.A year following the course, Gal became an instructor's assistant and he is extremely happy. This is the second year Gal is not only a participant in the day camp, but also an assistant. It is touching to see him with the small children – the way he helps them and takes care of them with such great dedication.Gal went through an amazing transformation at the camp. From a happy, energetic, and a little bit shy kid, he turned into a confident adolescent. The camp helped him take down all the walls he put up and strengthen his feeling that he is like everyone else, like the healthy children, and that his illness is no longer a barrier to his ambitions.We thank the camp staff for the support and great programs that helped us through our toughest times. By providing our children with so many joyful and positive experiences you have become a part of our family and active partners in Gal’s growth.Thank you very much,-Sima


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