An Alberta campground has been raising thousands of dollars every year to send kids with cancer to summer camp.

As reported by the Hinton Parklander, the Kampgrounds of America Hinton campground holds fundraisers throughout its operating season each year for the KOA Care Camps Trust, a non-profit charity that donates to over 50 special camps across North America. These special care camps are for children stricken with cancer, where they can enjoy all the recreational activities of a summer camp as well as all the medical amenities they need. The only such camp in Alberta was chosen to receive $50,000 in funding this year.

On Aug. 29, the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta was given a check on behalf of the KOA Campground Owners Association Care Camps Trust. The Kids Cancer Care Foundation runs Camp Kindle in Water Valley, northwest of Calgary. Camp Kindle is the only summer camp for kids with cancer in the province. A portion of the $50,000 was raised by the Hinton KOA Campground, located along Highway 16 about four kilometres west of town.

“If you’ve ever been out to one of these camps or been exposed to some of these kids that go to these camps, it’s kind of a heart-wrenching thing,” said Jim Brown, who owns the Hinton KOA Campground with his family. “I mean if you see some nine-year-old little girl without any hair carrying an IV pole, it rips your heart out.”

These care camps are the designated charity of KOA, said Brown. All of its nearly 500 affiliated campgrounds in North America help to raise money for the special camps, which are separately owned and operated. The Hinton campground collects bottles and cans throughout its May-October season for the cause, raising about $3,000 each year, Brown said, adding it also keeps them out of the landfill.

They also run “ice cream socials,” and hold an auction each year with items donated from various Hinton businesses.

“We certainly appreciate the donations,” Brown said. “That helps greatly with the fundraising.”