Jell-O Fight -- A Jiggly Delight

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What is better than a food fight?

For 200 campers nothing beats the thrill of throwing 60 gallons of red and orange Jell-O at each other.

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Two campers at Arizona Camp Sunrise Sidekicks splatter each other with Jell-O Friday at the annual Jell-O wars at the R-Bar-C Boy Scout Ranch. The American Cancer Society puts on the camp every summer for children with cancer and their siblings.

The campers are taking part in the annual Jell-O wars at the American Cancer Society's Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks.

The camps are for children who have had or have cancer and their siblings.

For Bethany Gardner, 11, who lost her older sister to cancer, the Jell-O war was her favorite part of a whole week of camp activities at the R-Bar-C Boy Scout Ranch.

The idea for the Jell-O wars came up on a bus ride with the campers, said American Cancer Society Communications Manager Meg Kondrich.

"They were talking about the worst part of cancer treatment and they said it was all the Jell-O they had to eat," Kondrich said.

The campers thought it would be awesome if they could throw the stuff, she said.

Now every year staff members boil 60 gallons of the jiggly dessert and put it in shopping bags for the campers to throw.

The camps, Sunrise and Sunrise Sidekicks take place for a week and are a place for children with cancer and their siblings to be kids and have fun, Kondrich said.

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A camper at Camp Sunrise Sidekicks learns to rock climb from a volunteer instructor. The camp ran July 12-18 at the R-Bar-C Boy Scout Ranch and included many activities such as fishing, archery and tennis.

The first camp, Sunrise Sidekicks, which ended last Friday, is for the siblings of children with cancer.

Often when a child is diagnosed with cancer, the other children in the family miss out on things because the family cannot do as many activities, Kondrich said.

Barbara Nicholas, director of Childhood Cancer Support Programs for the American Cancer Society, said parents came to camp and said we have these other children at home who are not getting the attention they deserve. They wanted a separate camp for them to attend.

At Sunrise Sidekicks, they have the opportunity to be the center of attention, Nicholas said. They get to focus on something other than their sibling's cancer.

Campers participate in numerous activities during the week, including archery, arts and crafts, fishing, tennis and horseback riding.

"This is a high-energy camp," Kondrich said. "When it was raining, they went outside, played and got muddy."

For children, ages 8-16 with cancer, Camp Sunrise is the place to get away from all the doctors' offices. The camp runs the week after Sunrise Sidekicks through July 26.

More than 200 volunteers, including doctors and nurses who are on staff 24 hours a day, run both camps.

If a child is in treatment, they can still come because there are doctors on site, Kondrich said.

This is the 26th year for Camp Sunrise and the 21st for Sunrise Sidekicks. The theme for this year is super heroes. The theme is tied into activities including a talent show where kids dress up as their favorite super hero.

The camps are offered free for all campers and are funded by donations to the American Cancer Society.

For more information on Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks, call (800) 227-2345 or (602) 952-7550 or log onto www.azcampsunrise.org.

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