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TIMES SUMMER CAMP CAMPAIGN

Out of a walker and onto a horse

August 20, 2008|Nicky Loomis | Times Staff Writer

Ten-year-old Camarah Ramsey has had to grow up fast. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, a condition that forced her to spend much of her childhood in the hospital.

Though the cancer has subsided with treatment, Camarah is forced to use a walker or wheelchair because of balance problems.

This summer, the Long Beach girl took a week off from her illness at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, where she found she could do just about anything she tried -- including her favorite activity, horseback riding.

"It was fun. I rode a horse -- it was kind of light brown. It was a girl," said Camarah.

"Even with a disability, they treat all the campers the same," said her mom, Latryce Ramsey. "She already had somewhat of a sense of independence, but she found out she could do more."

Camarah joined about 120 campers, ages 9 to 18, at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, in the San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild. For 26 years, the organization has helped children with cancer get a chance to do the things other youngsters do.

"Other camps can't handle their medical situation," said camp director Brian Crater. "Cancer shouldn't rob them of that."

The camp features special equipment that enables kids to participate in such traditional activities as swimming, hiking and fishing. A volunteer medical staff is on hand at all times.

Thanks to the $1.7 million raised last year by the Los Angeles Times Summer Camp Campaign, about 8,000 children will go to camp in Southern California this summer.

The Los Angeles Times Family Fund is a fund of the McCormick Foundation, which matches all donations at 50 cents on the dollar.

Donations are tax deductible as permitted by law. Addresses will not be released or published. For more information, call (800) LA TIMES, Ext. 75771, or e-mail familyfund@latimes.com.

Mail donations using the form below (do not send cash) or donate online now at latimes.com/donate.

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nicole.loomis@latimes.com

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