Central Texas Kids Battling Cancer, Blood Disorders Get 'Rock St - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Central Texas Kids Battling Cancer, Blood Disorders Get 'Rock Star' Send-Off to Camp

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(KCEN) – It’s a yearly tradition for a lot of families: summer camp. And for the last decade and a half, Scott and White Healthcare has been giving that same opportunity to kids battling cancer and blood disorders.

Camp Dreamcatcher is a camp just like any other; a place for kids to do normal kid things.


“Swimming!” Xavier, Cariel, and Josiah Rentas, three campers, yelled. “And getting away from all the parents. Sheesh!" Cariel added.


They’ve been going to the camp for years.
Mom and dad love it too.

“They have a week where they can, you know, just be normal within their boundaries,” said Lyzzette Rentas.


But nothing about Sunday was normal.
It started with a little show and tell with more than 30 Harleys. 

“See the look on a child's face when you let them sit on this bike, punch the button and it comes to life,” said Steve Hundl, a biker volunteering his ride, “worth a million bucks.”


Even local high school football players pitched in and loading bags.


“Just come out here and have a good time, mingle with the kids and put some smiles on their faces,” said Temple High School quarterback Chad President.


All 103 kids loaded up on three huge buses to make the 90-mile trip down to the camp in Burton for a full week of fun and games.


“They are so excited to be back at camp and to rekindle those relationships,” said Beverly Luedke with Altrusa International, one of the camp’s sponsors.


There were bittersweet goodbyes and a few tears, but then the kids were off with an escort fit for a kid. Led by two Bell County constables, the buses and motorcycles revved up and headed down the road.


"It makes the kids super excited when they see all these adults excited,” camp director Jenny Damron said, “and the Harleys when they escort us to camp, the kids feel like celebrities."


“One kid said it made him feel like a rock star," one rider said.


Just normal, everyday rock star celebrities.


“They can go and have fun, and … kids aren't worried about their disabilities,” Caleb Rentas said. “It's like they almost forget the hospital visits and all the chemos and the needle prickings."


It’s a week of fun as kids, not patients.


The camp is funded by sponsorships like Altrusa, and it wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers.

It’s grown over the last 16 years from 23 campers to more than a hundred.


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