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
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.
LUPUS WEEK at Camp Sunshine
Every August, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation sponsors a free week at Camp Sunshine for 40 kids with lupus and their families. Watch this video to get experience what it’s like for families to enjoy this special time gaining strength, support and fun being with others who share the same challenges. 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 Week of Hope at Camp Sunshine
Three words stood out in the many letters we received from the families your donations sent to Camp Sunshine this summer – smile, normal and hope. Camp Sunshine is a special spot in Maine where kids with chronic diseases like lupus get to be like all the other kids, playing under medical supervision. And where they and their families form friendships with others going through the same experience – relationships built on mutual understanding and support.
Thanks to our generous donors, we were again able to put a smile on the faces of 40 kids with lupus, and over 130 family members with a week to feel part of a larger, supportive community. And we were able to give them renewed hope for the future.
How this one week can keep people going throughout the coming year is best expressed by the kids, their siblings and their parents!
My daughter with lupus can smile, laugh and feel ‘normal’ here.
The opportunity to belong, to relax and to be
‘normal’ is priceless to our family!
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 2013 - Your generous donations helped kids with lupus get to be like all the other kids, playing under medical supervision, and along with their families find they are not alone with lupus.
- 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 »
“Thank you. Sometimes the world pauses and all my problems aren't here with me in camp.”
Note by Christopher P. Drawing by Lindsay M.
“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."