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"Camp Quality Ozarks" serves kids, families - KOAM TV 7

"Camp Quality Ozarks" serves kids, families

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NEOSHO, MISSOURI -

Between the squeals of laughter and the cannonballs at the pool, you would not imagine that every happy, laughing camper at Camp Quality Ozarks has been touched by cancer in some way.

Camp Quality Ozarks is one of 15 camps nationwide that provides a getaway for kids with cancer and their siblings. Thirty four-state kids are tucked away at the Neosho location this week until Friday.

"At some point we would like to have no new campers with diagnoses but we know right now we don't have that cure, so we want to reach out to every family that we're able to and give them the opportunity to just be kids like they deserve," co-executive director Kristin Patterson said.

Patterson and her team of 50 volunteers helps keep things fun and lightweight for the campers. They don't even talk about cancer at camp. A team of doctors and nurses is on-site to continue the kids' treatment and help with medication, but no mention of cancer can be found.

"Our goal this week is for them to forget about what they're having to go through, the treatments, the surgeries, the hospital stays. Cancer is not a word here this week. We all know that everyone is affected by it here," Patterson said.

Patterson is no exception. She began her journey with Camp Quality 19 years ago as a camper.

"Now it's my turn to give back and God's placed me on this Earth and I think Camp Quality is a big reason," Patterson said.

Lovingly called "Special K" by campers and staff, Patterson keeps things running smoothly in what she describes as a year-long support group. The almost week-long camp in the summer is just part of the activities and care exhibited towards one another year-round.

"It's really awesome being a camper once myself and now getting to give back and give the kids hope and faith," Patterson said.

"Princesses and pirates" is the theme this year for the camp run solely from donations and volunteers. More information can be found here: http://www.campqualityusa.org/oz/Home

Camp Quality Ozarks continues through Friday.

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