"It gives cancer patients and survivors an opportunity to get away from the cancer for a few days to bond with each other and share and laugh," said CMC Marketing and Public Relations Director Ginger Tyra about Camp Monarch, which emphasizes fun and relaxation for the participants.
Currently in its fifth year, Camp Monarch's initial event was spearheaded by auxiliary member Nancy Zerbe. A cancer survivor, Zerbe was inspired to offer a program tailored specifically for the Bartow community after learning about Northside Hospital's overnight camp for cancer patients.
Along with keynote speakers Miriam Eide, CMC chief nursing officer, and the Rev. Doug Harris, interim pastor of Atco Baptist Church, this year's three-day event features presentations by Mary Wannall, owner of Gold's Gym in Cartersville, and Cartersville Police Chief Thomas Culpepper; entertainment by vocalist Judy Blackwell, storyteller Luanne Tumlin and Heritage Sunshine Bell Ringers; a tour of Reinhardt University's Funk Heritage Center; a craft project; and a cake walk.
"[Camp Monarch] gives a person that has cancer something to look forward to," said Marie McDonnell, who serves on the board for Camp Monarch. "It's three days [when] they can meet other people that are going through the same thing or have been through the same thing. It just gives them courage.
"... In the past years, we have a part [in the program] where the campers get up and talk about their experience. I've never had cancer but it's very enlightening what people have to go through and all the different kinds of cancers. I've been [involved] in it for four years -- this is our fifth year -- and it just makes you feel good when you see all these people and then [know] we are about to take away their anxiety for three days. It's such a good feeling."
To attend the camp, interested individuals 18 and older need to pay a $10 registration fee by calling 678-721-5560 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pre-registration is required because space is limited, with only the first 50 individuals being admitted. The deadline to register is April 13.
For more information about Camp Monarch, call Zerbe at 678-602-0673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.