SOURCE: North Star Reach

Your People

May 29, 2013 14:01 ET

Camp for Children With Serious Health Challenges to Become Reality for Michigan Kids

ANN ARBOR, MI--(Marketwired - May 29, 2013) -  Michigan children who suffer from chronic and life-threatening health challenges have taken a big leap forward in their ability to attend a free summer camp program designed especially for them. The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation has selected North Star Reach as the recipient of a $5 million gift to support the camp's development and construction. This gift, coupled with the generous in-kind support of the University of Michigan Health System, provide the catalyst for North Star Reach to move forward with design and pre-construction planning. Plans call for camp construction to commence within the next year and the first campers to arrive in summer 2015. The camp will serve children throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

The University of Michigan Health System made the dream of a barrier free camp for children with serious health challenges possible when they purchased 105 acres of land in Pinckney, Michigan and donated its exclusive use to North Star Reach for the cost of $1 a year. The Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation now joins the University of Michigan as Founders of North Star Reach.

"This gift to North Star Reach was years in the works, even if I didn't know it," states Gwen Haggerty-Bearden, president of the Von Voigtlander Foundation. "I have so many connections to this camp. I grew up just down the road on Patterson Lake and my father-in-law, Ray Haggerty, was very involved with Trail's Edge, a camp for ventilator-dependent kids."

North Star Reach will provide a transformational camp experience to 1500 children each year who suffer from serious health problems, and to their families. Through summer camp programs for medically challenged children, and weekend family and sibling camps held throughout the year, North Star Reach will change the lives of campers by providing an opportunity for them to move past their diagnoses and spend a week of fun, making new friends, sharing new experiences and leading to increased resilience and self-esteem. Campers and family members will attend camp completely free of charge.

North Star Reach is honored to be a provisional member of the SeriousFun Network of Camps, started by actor Paul Newman (previously known as "Hole in the Wall Camps"). These camps exemplify the highest standards in medical camping. North Star Reach will be the ninth SeriousFun camp in the United States. North Star Reach is currently partnering with ten hospital systems in the state of Michigan: Beaumont Children's Hospital, Bronson Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital of Michigan/DMC, DeVos Children's Hospital/Spectrum Health Hospitals, Genesys, Henry Ford Health System, Hurley Medical Center, Oakwood Hospital, St. John Providence Health System and the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital to provide camper referrals, medical and volunteer support, education, planning and outreach.

For more information about North Star Reach please visit www.northstarreach.org or call 734.647.0448.

About North Star Reach

North Star Reach is a provisional member of SeriousFun Camps, the world's largest family of medical specialty camps for children with serious illnesses founded by Paul Newman in 1988. North Star Reach enriches the lives of children with serious health challenges by providing life-changing camp experiences that are fun, safe, and empowering, always free of charge to the child and their family. Approximately 1,500 children with serious health challenges will be free to attend North Star Reach's empowering camp programs and just be a kid at camp. North Star Reach is located in Pinckney, Michigan on a peninsula set among tall trees and rolling hills 40 minutes northwest from Ann Arbor. For more information on the camp, visit www.northstarreach.org or call 734-647-0448.

About SeriousFun Children's Network

SeriousFun Children's Network is a growing global community of 30 camps and programs serving children with serious illnesses and their families, always free of charge. Founded by Paul Newman in 1988, SeriousFun has served over 400,000 children and families from more than 50 countries. Each member camp is an independent, not-for-profit organization dependent upon private funding to serve all children at no cost to their families. A Support Center raises funds and provides central standards and services for all SeriousFun camps and programs. To learn more about SeriousFun, visit www.seriousfunnetwork.org.

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