MAY 2009

COVER STORY
 
Left to right: Barbara Buchbinder, R.N., Fran Wiley, R.N., M.S.N., Jesset and LaVette Bowles, R.N., F.N.P., Debbie Ward R.N., Ted Moore, M.D.

UCLA Health System faculty and staff volunteer at Camp Ronald McDonald

For children and families dealing with a life-threatening illness such as cancer, sometimes an enjoyable getaway is just what the doctor ordered. Located in Riverside County near Palm Springs, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times® provides residential camping opportunities for cancer patients, as well as their siblings and parents, at no cost to the families. Cancer patients up to 18 years at any stage of illness or treatment may participate, which means medical supervision is required. Theodore Moore, M.D., and other pediatric hematology and oncology staff regularly volunteer their time and clinical expertise to support the camp.

“When a child has cancer, so much of their life is affected by the stigma of the disease,” Dr. Moore explains. “It’s very important for children and their families, as they go through the therapy for cancer, to have some normalcy in their lives, and camp is one of the things that allow that.”

Dr. Moore was recruited as a volunteer approximately 15 years ago by another UCLA employee, Fran Wiley, R.N., who has been a nurse specialist in the UCLA Division of Hematology and Oncology for more than 30 years and was one of the early founders of the camp.

Theodore Moore, M.D.

During each camp session, as many as 140 campers take part in activities ranging from swimming, horseback riding and hiking, to crafts, pottery and dancing. The goal for the children and their families is to relax and have fun. The goal for Dr. Moore and the other clinical volunteers in the camp’s medical clinic, known as Camp Med Shed, is to provide medical care ranging from daily chemotherapy treatments to first aid for scrapes and bruises. No distinction is made between the children with cancer and their family members, which, says Dr. Moore, allows him to spend quality time with entire families affected by cancer.

“It’s an opportunity to build relationships and trust that you would not otherwise have in a clinic or critical care setting,” he says. “We get to see the children playing and having fun, which is what we really treasure.”

Dr. Moore encourages his UCLA Health System colleagues to participate as camp volunteers. Those interested in volunteer opportunities may contact the camp director at (800) 625-7295.