Camp Care, hosted by Acadian Swamp Tours of White Castle and Cancer Services Greater Baton Rouge, was held at the Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park on Tuesday, July 18.
This annual event is entering its 23rd year of service and was recently held in Iberville Parish for the second year in a row and provides an opportunity for children with cancer and their siblings to have a fun-filled day and cast aside their worries.
“These kids, whether they have cancer or their siblings have cancer, their whole lives are turned upside down,” Jill Roshto, CEO of Cancer Services said. “So to be able to be normal, they’re with other kids that maybe have lost their hair or maybe aren’t feeling so well.
“And for those siblings, it’s important to see that life goes on and that there are other kids that go through this and they can be normal and they can have fun in a safe environment.”
The series of camps are held throughout ten parishes around Baton Rouge, and are free of charge and complete with medical staff and camp counselors.
Last year, Roshto connected with Rodney Daigle and Daria Ransome of Acadian Swamp Tours and held the first Camp Care in Iberville Parish in White Castle. This year, they moved the Iberville camp series to the Waterfront Park to provide more space for the young ones.
This is the second year Acadian Swamp Tours has hosted this event, and it most certainly will not be the last, according to Ransome.
“Just to see the smiles on their faces and for them to have a day where they don’t have to worry about anything other than having a good time just means the world to us and every volunteer that’s here,” Ransome said. “We’re doing it to see them happy and have a day for them.”
This series of camps are only a small part of what Cancer Services Baton Rouge provides for cancer patients and their families, Ransome said, all free of charge.
“My main objective at the end of the day is to watch 42 kids get back on that bus smiling,” Rodney Daigle of Acadian Swamp Tours added, “then I know we did a good job.”
Acadian Swamp Tours and Cancer Services, along with the City of Plaquemine, Plaquemine Police Department and Plaquemine Fire Department and other volunteers lent a helping hand to make sure the kids had a great camp in Iberville. The City donated the use of the Waterfront Park for this year’s Camp Care.
“I think this is a testament to small town Louisiana, how great people are,” Roshto said.
The event featured a space walk, face painting, boat tours, water balloon fight, games, a firehose demonstration from the Plaquemine Fire Dept. and special guest appearances from Swamp People star Troy Landry and recent Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee D.D. Breaux.
“Cancer is a big thief,” Ronda Saucedo, Children and Family Program Manager for Cancer Services said. “It steals life, steals fun and steals what our plans and hopes and dreams were.
“We give them a place to play and be kids again.”