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Camp Ed Bear gives cancer patients a shot of summer fun (Photo gallery)

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Thankfully the only bears at this year’s Camp Ed Bear were of the stuffed variety.

This yearly tradition, which started in 1982, offered a weekend of fun and games at Camp Carl in Ravenna for 91 kids who have or are currently undergoing treatment for cancer or blood disorders at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“People can check their illness at the door at Camp Ed Bear,” said Doug Palmer, the hematology/oncology social worker and organizer of this year’s camp. “Everyone here is dealing with something. Camp Ed Bear gives them a chance to forget about it.”

This year’s theme had an international flare, with each cabin representing a different country, including Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Italy, Japan, China and South Africa. The theme carried through to meal time with internationally inspired offerings such as tacos and pizza.

Great weather enabled campers to enjoy paddling canoes, daring rides on zip lines and horseback riding. Inflatable bouncers and rock climbing walls helped keep the kids busy. And hot weather made the Shelby’s Sweets and Treats ice cream truck even more refreshing.

The Saturday night dance is always one of the campers’ favorite activities. This year, Kim Kozer offered campers a chance to learn some beauty basics before the dance.

At the Sunday awards ceremony, three people were recognized for 30 years of volunteer service: Theresa Parson, Colin Crites and Jacob Kropp. Nurses Pam Jones and Sue Neitz were recognized for 25 years and Carol Shaw for 20.

While arts and crafts are always a camping staple, the arts and crafts created at Camp Ed Bear serve a special purpose.

Under the direction of Cindy Ballway, a tree skirt and Christmas ornaments were created to auction off at the Project Ed Bear auction event in November, ensuring campers in the future will also be able to create some great memories in the years to come.

  • Cheryl Rice Ralston

    Brings back great memories. I remember, Teresa, Colin and Jacob. My son, Jason Mollohan, volunteered many years as well as being a camper when he was a boy.

    Jason turned 36, this past Tuesday and is still cancer free. He got married September 2011 to an Irish lass whose folks used to take care of Camp Christopher. The two of them never met though until a few years ago, even though Jason was at Camp Chops the same time his future bride was. After being told he would probably never have children, he and Meghan have a son Thomas, who was born April 6, 3013.

    We owe a lot to Children’s Hospital and the staff there 32 years ago….and for several years after. Jason was just 4 when he was diagnosed.

    Jason’s first trip to camp was the second year it was in operation. He was 6 years old.. He was so excited and I was so scared. :-) What a wonderful way for kids to just be kids!

    I’ll never forget Colin’s greeting to Jason as he got older. He’d tease him about the high school he played football for and greet him with a loud “Mooooo”. Hahaha……..we played cow bells at Jason’t wedding on account of Colin’s greetings.

    If you are a parent reading this, don’t ever doubt your child is well taken care of at camp. The staff do an excellent job!

    And don’t forget, in all things there is always, always hope!

    Blessings to everyone!

    Cheryl Ralston