Creating a Safe, Fun Environment
The Camp Rainbow Foundation provides free camp experiences and programs for children and families affected by childhood cancer and blood-related diseases.
Referred to our camps by their pediatric oncology facility, our campers range in age from 4 years through 20 years old. We draw from the three major pediatric hospitals in St. Louis: Mercy Children's Hospital, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. We serve the Missouri/ Illinois bi-state area.
Our Dedicated, Loving Staff
Heather Bachman is the Executive Director of our organization. As both a cancer survivor as well as a parent of a camper with medical needs, Heather feels a deep connection to the mission of Camp Rainbow. She shares the strong belief that families and children with cancer and other serious illnesses need to have normal, fun-filled opportunities to make friends, create memories, and build self-esteem without the worries associated with their illnesses and the treatments.
Professionally, Heather has served our community for twenty years in various social service leadership roles. Prior to joining Camp Rainbow, she successfully held the position of Executive Director & Chief Programs Officer at a social service agency. While her expertise in staff development, budget accountability, & quality programs will be assets in this role, being able to share her personal cancer story as well as her family’s camp experience with our campers and their families are invaluable.
As the Director of Camps, Jen Clark oversees all of our camping programs. She has been a certified Child Life Specialist for 18 years working in a hospital setting. She has a strong background in youth development and creative programming. Jen has lead several camps for children with a wide variety of medical needs, but her passion for camps began during college. From her start at YMCA Trout Lodge to growing camps for kids of all abilities, Jen’s passion for working with children and families continues to grow.
“I am extremely excited to work with the dedicated volunteers and staff at Camp Rainbow! I understand the value of bringing children, teens, and families together with unique healthcare needs into the camp setting. They can share experiences, create magical memories and have fun."
Over the last 18 years, Tricia has devoted her career in social services to working with children, teens, and adults with disabilities. Her past roles in management and supervising large groups gives her a special skill set to work alongside the amazing team of Camp Rainbow volunteers. She is excited to share her knowledge of community resources, creativity, and energy with the organization.
Personally, Camp Rainbow offers her the opportunity to continue fulfilling her passion for helping and serving others.
“I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to be part of Camp Rainbow. I am incredibly inspired by the dedication the volunteers and staff have for the organization and I look forward to working with so many wonderful people.”
After volunteering for Camp Rainbow for years, Suzanne joined our staff as Office Manager. She witnessed the impact Camp Rainbow had on her son, Jason, after he was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in 2004. Her son attended our Day Camp, Overnight Camps and later became an Ambassador and Counselor. It was the joy, friendships and personal attention to the campers at Camp Rainbow she found comforting as a parent of a sick child.
Suzanne spent much of her childhood overseas, graduated from NC State and worked for a small company for 8 years where she had various responsibilities in the office. She and her husband, Chris, and two sons relocated to the St. Louis area in 2004. Suzanne stayed home to raise her boys, but now loves working in the Camp Rainbow office where she contributes behind the scenes to Camp Rainbow’s mission. In her free time, Suzanne also works as a professional dog trainer and loves spending time outdoors with her family!
Zach joined the Camp Rainbow family in 1999 as a camper. He battled a suppressed autoimmune deficiency as a child and was introduced to camp through the hospital. Zach attended Overnight Camp for four years before becoming a counselor, then Unit Head, and finally a staff member. He has also attended Teen Camp for several years as a camper and volunteer, serving on the program committee in 2016. Being a former camper, Zach knows first hand the impact this camp has a child's life. Zach outgrew his illness at 16, though he continues to give back because of the new smiles and friendships he sees every summer.
Zach grew up in Maryland Heights, MO. Professionally, he works for Shillington Box Company in sales. He graduated from the University of Missouri - St. Louis in 2016 where he studied marketing. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, golf, cars and motorcycles, snowboarding, and traveling. Zach is excited to take on the role of Program Director and plans to bring a fresh perspective to the organization. He plans on using his experiences as both a camper and volunteer to help create a fun, inclusive, and exciting week of summer fun!
Originally from Peoria, Illinois, Raizel currently lives in West Des Moines, Iowa where she graduated from Drake University in 2014. As a lead teacher at the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines Preschool, she fosters an environment that encourages creativity, independence, and a foundation that supports each child's development. Raizel has been teaching various classes at Beit Sefer Shalom from pre - K through grade 8 since 2012. In addition, Raizel works part-time as an autism behavioral youth therapist.
Raizel joined the Camp Rainbow Family in 2008 as a counselor and later a Unit Head. Drawing from her experiences in early education, Raizel strives to cultivate a safe environment that offers fun opportunities for hands-on discovery and the confidence to explore our surroundings. Raizel most enjoys seeing former day campers return as overnight campers.
Barbie’s older sister Mary Beth was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1999, and she first attended a camp for siblings of children with cancer the following summer. Barbie volunteered at that camp for 10 years serving as a counselor, group leader and the director of their sibling camp program. As a sibling, Barbie knows how important it is to have opportunities for siblings of children with cancer to meet others who are going through a similar situation. When Barbie heard that Camp Rainbow was interested in starting a sibling camp, she knew she wanted to be a part of it!
Barbie first experienced Camp Rainbow in 2014 as a camp nurse for Summer Camp and she has been one of the camp nurses every summer since then. She has also volunteered as a nurse at Teen Camp and events with the TnT program.
When Barbie isn’t volunteering for Camp Rainbow, she enjoys working as a staff nurse/charge nurse on the pediatric hematology/oncology floor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and spending time with family and friends. She is a 2009 graduate of Miami University and a 2013 graduate of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. Barbie can’t wait to bring the sibling perspective to SIB'S camp and create an inclusive and exciting week where children whose siblings have had cancer can have fun and just be kids.
Mara joined the Camp Rainbow family as a counselor in 1997 and began volunteering at Teen Camp in 2007. She takes the experiences from her daily life as an educator and translates them into expert planning for the yearly 3-day weekend of Teen Camp.
Sharing a common belief that Teen Camp is about showing the campers that there are others going through the same life experiences as themselves, her hope is to create an environment where there is no judgment, only new friends to be made and a sense of belonging to be created.
Mara has taken her love for young people and transformed it into the most interactive and dynamic programming for our oldest campers, all of whom come to Camp Rainbow with different expectations and life experiences. Always striving to create a sense of normalcy for the campers, Mara excels at encouraging group participation, making certain each camper’s comfort level has been taken into consideration, and most of all, that everyone is having fun!
Sandy Komen has loved working with kids for as long as she can remember, so it was an easy decision to choose education as a major in college. She graduated with a BS in Education from the University of Missouri and received her Masters in Education from Webster University. After 28 years of teaching, Sandy retired in 2008 and began volunteering with the Camp-In programs. Shortly thereafter she became the coordinator. Her favorite part of Camp-In is getting the patients (and their siblings, parents, and grandparents) so involved in the projects they forget for at least a little while about why they are at the hospital. Her goal is to put smiles on everyone's faces. In addition to being a volunteer for Camp Rainbow, Sandy spends one morning each week at the Siteman Cancer Center volunteering in the infusion center.
JoLinda Cohen Is the Co-Coordinator of the Camp-In Program. Similarly to Sandy, JoLinda majored in education at the University of Missouri where she received her BS in Education. She taught first grade in the Parkway School District for 21 years retiring in 2010. JoLinda first volunteered to help with the Camp-In Program and immediately was hooked. Shortly thereafter she joined Sandy as the Co-coordinator of the Camp-In Program. Her favorite part of Camp-In is getting to know the patients and their families. She has an opportunity to brighten what is sometimes a taxing day by offering projects and creating smiles. JoLinda also volunteers her time with our Summer Camp program and annual Walk-a-Thon each year. She has met some amazing people in her time with the Camp Rainbow organization.
Stephanie Dummerth and David Stuckel are absolutely thrilled to move into their new positions as co-directors of Family Camp. Having been on the staff since its inception in 2014, as well as serving on the staff of Camp Sunrise for several years, they are well versed in the in’s and out’s of planning and carrying out such a program. In addition to being on the staff, both have had the opportunity to participate in many of the activities offered at the camp, due to first attending/volunteering at the camp in 1998 and 2001, respectively. As the older sister and one of the many cousins of a childhood cancer survivor, Stephanie and David work with an understanding of the challenges facing the families in attendance. This history and understanding lead to insight and ease within the staff's planning sessions.
When not working on camp, Stephanie, a recent graduate of Truman State University, works as a nurse at St. Louis Children's Hospital, while David works as the Operations Manager for US Pack Logistics, a company that transports medical supplies and medications across the Midwest.
As co-directors, Stephanie and David intend to continue to build upon the foundation set by their predecessors for the weekend of Family Camp. They are excited to continue to plan a family weekend filled with a myriad of age-appropriate activities such as pontoon rides, crafts, sand volleyball, miniature golf, and much more.
Ben joined the Camp Rainbow family in 2009. During 9 summers as a counselor, Unit Head, and staff at Overnight Camp, Ben witnessed the power of friendship, dreams, and faith firsthand. He learned how to foster an immersive environment for campers, plan and develop fun programs, and cultivate camp spirit through teamwork and traditions. His favorite aspect of Overnight Camp is watching new friendships form and old friendships strengthen throughout the week. Ben experienced Teen Camp 3 times, serving on the programming team twice. Working with the teens reaffirmed Ben's belief in the importance of providing opportunities for camp friends to reconnect. The goal of the Teens-n-Twenty program is to provide campers with opportunities to strengthen their friendships throughout the year. TnT will be the foundation upon which teens can maintain and grow their Camp Rainbow friendship network.
Ben is from Peoria, Illinois. He received his undergraduate degree at Indiana University (go Hoosiers!), and he is and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on how individual differences in brain organization relate to unique differences in behavior.
Meghan began her Camp career as a camper in 1999. She joined the Camp Rainbow family in 2001 and has had a variety of roles over the following 15 years including counselor, Unit Head, staff, and has even helped serve on the Strategic Planning Committee. Meghan thinks that one of the greatest events she has witnessed at Camp is seeing a camper stepping out of his comfort zone and trying something he never imagined having the opportunity to do, especially after receiving his diagnosis. In some cases, Camp Rainbow is the only occasion these children have to truly be kids. Facilitating that breakthrough moment for a child has brought Meghan back for many years in a row. Her involvement in the Ambassador Program is a way to help our sponsors and donors meet more of the kids who are benefitting from the Camp Rainbow programs. She enjoys seeing the Ambassadors outside of the Camp setting and watching them interact with people who love Camp just as much they do.
Meghan currently lives in Chester, IL. She's a mom of two very busy little ones but volunteers as much as she can with Camp functions throughout the year.
A Big Thank You To Our Co-Sponsors
Blues for Kids
Friends of Kids
Rainbows for Kids
the sound room
St Louis Feed Club