December 2016 Honoree
Regional Director, Camp Good Days and Special Times
In 1979, Gary Mervis’ nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He started a summer camp for kids with cancer as a way to show his daughter, Teddi, that she wasn’t alone. It then grew into a year-round organization with offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Ithaca. Teddi passed away in 1982, but CGD continues as a legacy to her.
Lisa Booz is regional director of Camp Good Days and Special Times. She says, “We have a couple of mottos here: ‘Camp Good Days: where courage has no boundaries’ and ‘giving back the childhood that cancer took away.’ We live these sayings daily – doing whatever it takes to get the kids to laugh.”
Camp Good Days and Special Times was first established as completely volunteer-run. As the organization grew, so then did the staff needs; they now have two full time and one part time employees who serve more than 500 kids. Lisa is the most proud of the Camp’s volunteers, she says “Many of our volunteers are past Campers themselves – leading the way for new pediatric patients and being a symbol of hope.” They strive to improve the quality of life for children with cancer, and their families, offering programs for young adult and adult oncology patients. In the future Lisa would like to be able to expand their women’s oncology program.
Lisa is a member of Volunteer Administrators of WNY, Agency Executives Association, American Camp Association, and the Children’s Oncology Camping Association.