The Children’s Security Blanket has teamed up with the Greater Optimist Club of Spartanburg for the sixth consecutive year to host Camp Victory. This three-day camp was created to give these young cancer patients the “camp experience” they might not otherwise get.
“All children were meant to run, jump, skip and sing, and not be in a hospital bed. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” said Tom Russell, founder of Children’s Security Blanket.
Camp Victory was designed to give children and their families a break from all the hospitals and doctors. It offers these youngsters a chance to simply be kids.
The camp’s events include hands-on crafts, courtesy of Home Depot, fishing and outdoor exploration with Doug Rainer, a professor at Wofford College, a Mr. Nosey magic show presented by Steve Holt and a Bible study led by his wife, Vicki Brown.
“It’s so good for the kids, but when I leave here at the end of a camp day, I just have such a good feeling,” said Dot Hull, president of Children’s Security Blanket.
This year, the Children’s Security Blanket also has been working with Miss Spartanburg, Clarka Wickliffe, whose platform is cancer awareness and prevention.
“I’ve mostly worked with adults when it comes to cancer, so when I had the blessing of working with children and the Children’s Security Blanket, they embraced me and I embraced them right back,” Wickliffe said.
She visited the camp on Wednesday. On Friday, Wickliffe and a couple of fellow title-holders will showcase their talents during the Celebration of Victory event that will bring this year’s camp session to an end. All of the children and their families will be treated to an evening featuring food, performances and a fireworks display.
“This is reaching in with sunshine and happiness — this is where the rubber meets the pavement, where we can just get down and bring out smiles and joy,” Russell said.
The Children’s Security Blanket has existed for about 10 years. It has collectively served more than 90 families in the Spartanburg area. The organization’s purpose is to help financially support these members by reimbursing the family’s food, gas and lodging expenses when they must travel out of town for treatment. In some cases, this extra help from the organization can unite a family.
“We wrap the entire family in a blanket of love, so that’s where the Children’s Security Blanket came from,” Russell said.
This organization currently is supporting 53 families in the Spartanburg area. Its list of members continues to grow, and it is looking to the community for more support. In September, it will host a gala at the Chapman Cultural Center to recruit sponsors.
The families involved in this program are grateful for all of the love and support they have received from the Children’s Security Blanket.
“It’s an enjoyment to see my granddaughter, who was just diagnosed two years ago, be as happy as she is. They are wonderful people, they do wonderful things,” said Tabitha Dean, grandmother of Jadiamond Williams. Jadiamond was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and was told that if she moved to Spartanburg, the organization would be able to help her.
“Lo’ and behold, God blessed them to move down here eight months later and it’s been a joy ever since,” Dean said. “They’ve been helping ever since.”