There is a facility called “Solaputi Kids’ Camp” in Takikawa City, Hokkaido, located about an hour by express train from JR Sapporo Station.
Solaputi Kids’ Camp is the only permanent camp for “children who are fighting illnesses” in Japan. It is operated by means of donations from many collaborators and a number of volunteer staff, including medical professionals.
CBC Co., Ltd. supports the facility through the “Ohara Pediatric Cancer Fund,” which we operate jointly with Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Sun Life Co., Ltd. to assist the lives of children fighting intractable diseases and their parents.
“Solaputi” means “river where the waterfall descends” in the Ainu language. The CBC team visited the Solaputi Kids’ Camp located in an area rich in nature, as the name implies.
It is said that there are more than 200,000 children who are fighting intractable diseases in Japan.
Their symptoms may be different, such as pediatric cancer or heart disease, but one of the dreams they have is to “play outside.” Children are constantly being asked to care for their bodies and their illnesses. It is not hard to imagine their pain of not being able to play in the same way as their friends who are playing outdoors in the sunshine and running around until they are out of breath.
The “Solaputi Kids’ Camp” (referred to as “Solaputi” hereafter) is a camp for children fighting such diseases.
This 16-hectare campground created in the wilderness of Takikawa, Hokkaido not only has a cafeteria and lodging facilities but also a medical clinic space named “Mori no Hokenshitsu (health clinic in the forest)” within the facility. Children staying at the camp can enjoy various activities while receiving medical care from doctors and nurses as needed.
For example, the “Kids Camp” held during the summer is a “children-only” camp program in which approximately 20 children participated. The children leave their parents, meet friends who are also fighting disease and spend four days and three nights together at the camp.
For children who normally spend time with their parents, a camp where they stay away from their families for the first time is a place full of “firsts.” They come into contact with nature, play in a forest with large trees and sometimes even experience horseback riding, which makes it seem like a school camp at times.
Some 40 support staff members, including volunteer doctors and nurses, assist the children during the camp so that they can play without worrying about their illnesses or medical treatments. The parents of each participating child and camp staff repeatedly hold discussions starting three months before the camp to put a system in place to accommodate each child according to his or her symptoms and physical condition.