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Pamlico County camps lets children with illnesses be like anyone else

The goal for both places is to give the children the summer camp experience any other child would have and allow them a chance to focus on something besides medical treatment. (Nate Belt, NewsChannel 12 photo)

Children with illnesses just want to be treated like everyone else. At Camp Hope and Camp Rainbow in Pamlico County, that's just what happens.

Camp Hope welcomes children with sickle cell disease and Camp Rainbow is for children with various blood diseases. The goal for both places is to give the children the summer camp experience any other child would have and allow them a chance to focus on something besides medical treatment.

"It feels more comfortable being around people that have it so I don't feel different and I don't feel unwelcome," said Brennan Hill, who has Sickle Cell Disease and has been coming to camp since he was in Kindergarten.

Since the camp is funded by donors, he and every other camper doesn't pay a dime. Hill said he is ready to give back as a counselor next year.

"I want to show the camp that I do love them and to keep kids coming back and help out with new people," Hill said.

The children do still have to have medical attention during the week and the staff is made of professionals who volunteer.

"It feels great because you know these kids go through a lot and you're not sure what's going on at home but you know they have to deal with a medical condition and just deal with life in general," said Tamika Mackey, who is in her third year volunteering. "Coming here just makes them be a kid."

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