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Walk-a-Thon helps send kids with cancer to summer camp

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - Dozens of people laced up their tennis shoes for the sixth annual Camp Rainbow Walk-a-Thon in Tilles Park on Saturday. 

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - Dozens of people laced up their tennis shoes for the sixth annual Camp Rainbow Walk-a-Thon in Tilles Park on Saturday. NewsChannel5's new chief meteorologist, Craig Moeller, emceed the event.

Money raised from the Walk-a-Thon goes toward Camp Rainbow. The camp is free to kids undergoing treatment for cancer and blood-related diseases and disorders. Survivors are welcome, too.

Children dealing with cancer or blood-related disorders are often unable to go to so-called regular camp with their friends. That's where Camp Rainbow comes in. There are still a lot of activities, but there are also a lot of medical professionals on hand. Six-year-old Nora Bangert started off by going to day camp.

"The first year she went, she was actually going through treatment and so to know that she was taken care of, I didn't have to worry about anything because there were doctors and nurses and she had her own counselor," Nora's mother, Aisha Bangert, said.

The next year, Nora and her family decided to give overnight camp a try.

"Leading up to it, she was super nervous because she had never been away from home," Bangert said. "Then, when we got there, she saw her friend Mary she was like, 'All right bye!'"

"We got snow cones and we went swimming and we went fishing," Nora said.

They're summer memories the Camp Rainbow Foundation wants every kid to have.

"Last year we had over 600 campers that came to our camps," said Heather Bachman, executive director of Camp Rainbow.

If kids can't go, they go to them.

"We have camp-ins where we go into the hospitals and we provide camp on the hospital floors," Bachman said.

There are more than 350 volunteers.

Camp Rainbow is open to kids ages four to 18. The Walk-a-Thon is the foundation's only fundraiser, but donations are accepted throughout the year. For more information, visit www.camprainbow.com.