Several times a year, Lurie Children’s Hospital sends a family dealing with a child’s cancer diagnosis to a Wisconsin camp where they can spend the weekend reading, cooking, hiking nature trails and otherwise unwinding from lives normally consumed by medical appointments and stress.
The weekends don’t cost participants a thing, said social worker Gina Baldacci, but are a gift from a Skokie family that knows well how nature can restore a cancer-battered life.
Eric Lentz built the pastoral retreat after being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2005, doing much of the manual labor himself despite the energy-sapping rigors of chemotherapy. Rustic Falls Nature Camp has since hosted hundreds of kids in tough situations, offering a few hours or days of peace, quiet and restoration.
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