Smiles Tell The Story At Camp Goodtimes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Smiles Tell The Story At Camp Goodtimes

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POST FALLS, Idaho -- For one week every year, Camp Goodtimes at Ross Point brings some much-needed smiles to kids who have been touched by cancer.  But those smiles get even wider when members of the Gonzaga men's basketball team come in for a visit.

"We're like NBA superstars to them," says Gonzaga center Sam Dower, part of last year's squad that entered the NCAA Tournament as the #1 team in the nation. "I thought we were just regular guys on a college team, but to them it's a big deal."

"This is my second year doing it," adds teammate Gary Bell Junior.  "It's fun interacting with them.  It's sunny out here.  Getting to jump out in the lake, you can't beat it."

This isn't Bell's or Dower's first trip to Camp Goodtimes.  They initially come because it's the pride and joy of their head coach, Mark Few.  But once you see Few's connection to this camp, you understand why they players keep coming back.

"This is what we're put on earth to do," says Few, whose Coaches Versus Cancer foundation has helped raise more than $1 million to date for Camp Goodtimes.  "You can just feel the fun.  You sense it right when you walk in here."

Anyone familiar with CVC and Camp Goodtimes knows how big a role Few plays in all of this.  But his wife, Marcy, is in many ways the head coach in this undertaking.

"This is why we do it," she says.  "It just puts it all in perspective.  To see all these kids having so much fun... because so many people wish they had something like this for their child who's battling cancer.  I'm just so glad we have one right here."

11 year old Myah is one of those cancer survivors who is a mainstay at Camp Goodtimes.  She was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2.  She has been coming to Ross Point ever since, and for the last few years she's had her twin sister, Mazzy, as her bunkmate.  Whether you've had cancer, or your sister or brother had cancer, everyone is welcome at Camp Goodtimes.

"It's cool for my sister because she had cancer, which was really sad," says Mazzy. "But it's cool to have people who know what we went through."

Myah says she would like to one day be a camp counselor here.  She can't imagine a world without Camp Goodtimes in it.

"It would just ruin everything," she says.

Behind every one of these faces is a very real, personal story.  The kind of stories that take a lifetime to tell  Like all great stories worth telling, it starts with tragedy, and ends with triumph.  And these kids are telling that story, one smile at a time.

 

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