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October 15, 2004 - Image 41

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-10-15

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hooking his feet under available fimiture. But as
his dream took shape for a camp for kids with can-
cer, he found strength in his Judaism.
Being a lew, were supposed to help other
human 1.-1. t..ingss," Harry says. 1 go for that very
Hadar Granader recalls, - Harry was not a com-
mitted shul-going guy, but when he got involved
with the hospital and the Ronald McDonald
House, it changed his life. No one in his family had
cancer, but he wanted to do something — he had
vision. He became a strong believer in God and
God's work."
Determined to help the kids directly, Harry for-
mulated a plan and began hatching it with like-
minded people in Missoula, Montana, about an
hour from the 14,000-acre buffalo and cattle ranch
the Granaders bought in 1988. In Harry's mind,
the ranch became the linchpin for making his camp
a reality. More than 10 years ago, the Granaders
donated 87 rolling acres and some seed money to
get the buildinc, started.
Next came fund-raising, and Harry got into high
"Most people at his age want to retire and play
(=di, but at 75. Harry took something and nurtured
it and built it. He was different. He became a
nutizli; nothing stopped him," Hadar Granader
says. - When he met someone new, within .20 min-
utes he was talking about camp and raising money.
He'd say, 'How can you not help kids with cancer?"


Realizing The Dream

Soon a campus took shape on the gentle hillside
overlooking snowy peaks in the distance.
Everything was planned with the kids in mind —
handicapped accessibility comfortable cabins with
fireplaces and kitchenettes, space for arts and crafts,
a swimming pool and a lodge-like dining hall with
meeting space below. Most important, but always
discreet, was a health center that could accommo-
date the needs of all children with cancer, no matter
Other such camps exist across the country but
not all accept children in active treatment, and few
keep their numbers as low as 50 per week to allow
the campers to connect as a community
This year, on its 10th anniversary, Camp
Mak-A-Dream opened its state-of-the-art med-
ical facility, featuring call lights, isolation rooms,
new equipment to handle acute care and living
quarters for the medical staff.

"Its a S1.2 million building I hope

F1171& The Dred717

We don't use," says Dr. Stu Kaplan, a

To offer no-cost camping

pediatric oncologist at St. Jude
experiences to children and
Children's Research Hospital in
voun;z adults with cancer is a
Memphis, Tenn. He's volunteered at
major enterprise — especially
the camp every summer as medical
at S3.000 per camper. Nearly
director and more recently as camp
all the staff is volunteers.
director as well.
including Dr. Stu. oncology
"I came one week that first year and
nurses and counselors.
staved three," says the doctor, who,
Fund-raising efforts are
purposefully plans treatment at off
coordinated by the C.hildrens
times so kids don't miss out on much.
Oncology Camp Foundation,
the nonprofit organization in
I love it. I eni" being here watching
the kids develop and seeing the staff
Missoula that runs Camp
Mak-A-Dream. A handful of
give magic to the kids."
staff members writes grants,
Funding for the center came from a
matching grant of S500,000 from the.
rents out camp facilities dur-
ing the off-season and seeks
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The
other $500,000 came from the
National Auto Body Council, which
Michigan. because of its ties
has become a major fund-raiser for
to Sylvia and Harry. has
the camp because its former president,
Friends of Camp Mak-A-
Marco Grossi of Collision Craftsmen
Dream, Michigan Chapter.
in Macomb C,ounry, happened to
Executive Director Lauren
receive a brochure in the mail.
Altman spreads the word
"There's a sense of pride looking at
about camp to attract
this building and knowinI.E,7 Vhat we
Nlichigan campers and over-
did to help these kids." says Patty
sees all fund-raising activities
Every year in the United
Poole of Collision Craftsmen, who
to send Michigan campers to
States, approximately
organized the annual fund-raising din-
NIontana. Each year the chap-
12,400 children and young
raises roughly S250.000
ner auction that attracted 400 people
adults up to age 20 are
to the Renaissance Center this year.
the camp.
diagnosed with cancer,
She recently visited camp with some
the group's largest annual
according to the National
Friends of Camp lak-A-Dream
find-raiser is Cookies 'n
Cancer Institute. About
Dreams. which will be held
board members.
2,300 die each year, making
Next up is a nature center being
Oct. 28 at the Somerset
cancer the most common
Collection in Troy. The
built in honor of Cathy and Nathan
cause of disease-related
Forheses co-chair the event
Forbes of Franklin. Another plan calls
mortality for this age group.
for a memorial garden in honor of the
that honors the memory of
her father, Dr..fony : Jacob.
Granader family, discreetly placed
because the "D-word" is seldom spo-
The family event also brings together Michigan
ken at camp even though about 20 percent of the
campers for a mini-reunion and to speak publicly
campers do die from their cancer.
about their experiences. About 30-35 percent of
"That's the heartache," says Sylvia, who treasures
campers come from Michigan.
the poems and letters of thanks they have received
Other efforts include partnerships with local busi-
from campers and their parents. Some of those let-
nesses, school fund-raisers and securing grants and
ters tell of a child who has died, but whose life was
individual gifts. On tap next summer is the group's
enriched by the camping experience.
first annual Dream on the Green golf outing to be
held at Glacier Club in Washington


Kids And

BIG HEARTS on page 42



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