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Scaling Walls: Young ETCH patients enjoy summer fun at Camp Eagle's Nest

The camp helps kids as young as 6 years old who are battling blood disorders and cancer -- giving them a summer camp experience where they can just enjoy being kids.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — East Tennessee Children's Hospital helped dozens of kids make some fun memories at its annual summer camp retreat.

Camp Eagle's Nest is one of a few summer camps the hospital holds each year. The camp helps kids as young as 6 years old who are battling blood disorders and cancer to give them fun experiences in the great outdoors. This year, the retreat was held in the foothills south of Maryville at Camp Montvale.

"A lot of these patients can't go to a regular camp because of their medical diagnosis, and so they get to come up here and do typical camp stuff like swimming, the climbing wall, arts and crafts, horses... all under the supervision of counselors with assistance from the hospital," said Anna Taylor, co-director of the camp.

Clinical staff and nurses at the hospital volunteer each year to run the camp as counselors.

Taylor is also a child life specialist with ETCH. She said this experience helps the kids bond and enjoy just being kids without having to worry about their treatments, even if it's only for a few days.

"It's great to get out of the hospital with them. They're trying new things, making new friends. We already know how brave they are, but just seeing them try new things and seeing how brave they are. Just getting them to be a kid and forgetting maybe forget about some of the hospital stuff," she said. 

The camp began on July 31 and runs through August 4.

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