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Weekend of free fun for childhood cancer patients & their siblings

About 40 local childhood cancer patients and their siblings come together for a special weekend camp in Henderson County. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Flat Rock, NC -- About 40 local childhood cancer patients and their siblings come together for a special weekend camp in Henderson County.

It's called Camp Merry Times and it takes place on the grounds of Camp Ton-A-Wandah in Flat Rock.

Campers from Western North Carolina and South Carolina arrived Thursday evening and participate in activities through Sunday afternoon. The camp is free and open to kids ages 5-17 as part of the Friends of Santa Claus non-profit.

On News 13 This Morning, Lauren Brigman introduces us to the leaders of Friends of Santa Claus, the local non-profit that organizes the camp.

Camp Merry Times is just one of the many events they host.

Camp counselors come from around the country to volunteer for the weekend of fun. They help to coordinate the many activities for the campers, from fishing to canoeing, horseback riding, swimming and more.

"They can be in the program from anytime that they're in treatment to up to 5 years after treatment, which is the time the kids are most likely to have a relapse," says Mary Jones, president of the non-profit.

Click here to learn more about Camp Merry Times.

Kaden Ramsey, a 12-year-old camper is now in remission and says the camp helped him get his mind off being sick.

"I had leukemia and it was rough for a few years, but then when I came here I just forgot about everything," says Ramsey.

For 17-year-old camper, Hannah Masters, cancer came in the form of a brain tumor. "I'll always have it, but I'm in remission right now and it's shrunk and they can't do anything else. So if it starts growing again I'll have more chemo but I'm in remission, it's stable," says Masters. She plans to return next year as a camp counselor.

The experience allows kids to get away from the challenges of everyday life and "just stay focused on the fun," as Kaden Ramsey says.

To find out more about signing your child up for the camp or volunteering with future events, email Mary Jones - president of Friends of Santa Claus at mjones75@hotmail.com

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