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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Clothing sought for camp kids

  • - A volunteer at Camp Happy Times in Tyler Hill is collecting suits and other men’s formal wear for boys and young men battling cancer or blood disorders.
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    - A volunteer at Camp Happy Times in Tyler Hill is collecting suits and other men’s formal wear for boys and young men battling cancer or blood disorders.
    Karen Mercado of Scranton is collecting second-hand suits for campers, ages 5 to 21, diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders and who stay free for one week every summer.
    Items being accepted are gently used or new suits, vests, ties, top hats and suit jackets.
    "Anything a guy would wear to a formal occasion," Mercado said in an email. "I need all sizes big and small."
    The clothes will be worn by the campers during a dance night this summer.
    "It's a big deal for them," Mercado said.
    Donations are needed by Aug. 1 and may be dropped off at or mailed to: Mercado at 622 N. Lincoln Ave., Scranton; GNC Taylor Commons 1325 S. Main St. Taylor, 18517; GNC Shoppes at Montage, 2105 Shoppes Blvd., Scranton, 18507. She also is willing to pick up items.
    More information may be obtained by calling Mercado at 570-677-2909 or at mercadokaren1@gmail.com.
    History of giving back
    Mercado has been volunteering at the camp for four years through the company Chanel. She started by working with the girls at the camp.
    "I get to pamper the girls by applying make-up and nail polish and skin care products all donated by Chanel," Mercado said.
    One year a fellow volunteer, Gabby Giello, brought her prom dress for a camper to wear to the dance.
    "Gabby vowed to return with dresses for all the girls (the) next year ... and it was a huge success," Mercado said.
    Volunteer director Millie Finkle thought it was a wonderful idea, but wanted to have something for the boys. So Mercado decided to collect boy's and men's clothing for this year.
    "Because my father, Richard Mercado, is battling stage 4 colon cancer, I decided to start my first annual 'suits for cancer' in honor of my dad and these kids," Mercado said. "I will need to collect 200 suits or any formal wear, vests, blazer, suit jacket, ties. I will take the donations to the camp and help each kid pick out formal wear they can wear to their big dance night."
    Page 2 of 2 - For more than 25 years, The Valerie Fund has operated Camp Happy Times, a free one-week camp for those between 5-21 who have or had cancer.
    Nearly 200 campers attend the 200-acre camp, which is fully accredited by the American Camping Association.
    About the camp
    Camp Happy Times promotes friendship, independence and a spirit of cooperation for cancer patients and survivors.
    Its philosophy is to provide a recreationally therapeutic environment that engages participants while building self-esteem, confidence, trust and friendship.

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