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Camp Bluebird

Camp Bluebird is a special camp sponsored by Shawnee Mission Health (SMH) for adult members of our community who have been diagnosed with cancer. For three days and two nights, campers have a unique opportunity for listening and learning, not only about their disease, but with others like themselves who live with cancer.

Nestled in rolling hills near Parkville, Mo., the camp is held twice yearly at the Heartland Presbyterian Retreat Center. Three-hundred-sixteen acres of forest and woodlands provide an ideal setting to get away from everyday living. In addition to hiking and horse riding trails, campfire and picnic facilities, the retreat center features indoor recreation areas, a chapel and dining facilities in the center’s lodge. In these rich surroundings, campers have an ideal setting to experience a supportive community of individuals. And that, really, is what Camp Bluebird is all about.

Of the approximately 40 individuals who gather, each has a unique story. Bringing a wealth of experience, an opportunity is created to share experiences with those who know the challenges of living with cancer. Campers make the transition from being supported by a caring, but healthy family to support from their peers. In camping with other cancer patients, one truly releases from normal living to a much deeper level.

Camp Bluebird is staffed by physicians, nurses, and other SMH health professionals on a completely volunteer basis. These individuals gladly give of time from their busy schedules to live out the mission to heal the human spirit as well as the body. The camp gives physicians and nurses a chance to get closer to their cancer patients, as well as providing a thorough way to process the many mixed emotions, of both patient and health care provider, that are associated with this disease. Revenue from fees covers only a small fraction of the actual costs. Camp Bluebird is made possible by the generous gifts of donors to The Foundation for SMMC.

Comments from campers have included:

  • “It made me realize this is not a lonely disease.”
  • “Not enough words or paper to explain…my spirit is so uplifted and ready to keep going.  It fills me with strength that I don’t receive anywhere else."

Download the Registration Form 
Download the Camp Bluebird Brochure
For more information about Camp Bluebird or to request more registrations, call 913-676-8191 or email

To donate to Camp Bluebird, use The Foundation for SMMC's online giving page, or contact The Foundation at 913-676-2055.

Learn more about Light the Town Pink, SMH's event in October for breast cancer awareness. Proceeds go to Camp Bluebird. 

Shawnee Mission Medical Center
9100 West 74th Street
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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