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COUNTYWIDE : Carnival Entertains Youths With Cancer

Little Claudio Kibbe of Santa Paula doesn’t get out much anymore.

The chemotherapy treatment for a recurrent case of leukemia has left him weak and frail.

But Claudio, 9, and his father, Ronald, ventured out Sunday to spend a little time at a carnival in Camarillo for children who have cancer.

“Treatment has not been easy for Claudio,” Ronald Kibbe said.

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“We just keep our thumbs up and keep going.”

Sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the Ventura chapter of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Owners, about a dozen children with cancer and their family and friends gathered on the grounds of the Camarillo Baptist Church despite chilly weather.

About 40 leather-clad motorcycle riders also wheeled up to participate in the festivities.

A few even gave the youngsters rides around the parking lot on the backs of their shiny American bikes.

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The event--which included a puppet show and games--was one in a series of gatherings aimed at lifting the spirits of the children and their families.

“It gives children a place to go where they can be themselves,” said Nancy Shook, the director of the Ventura unit of the American Cancer Society.

“They don’t have to feel bad about being different.”

In addition, it gives parents a chance to get to know each other and develop a support network, she said.

June and Reid Shafer of Camarillo said their 6-year-old son, Max, was found to have leukemia in August.

He is going through chemotherapy and his prognosis is good.

But the illness has been a trying ordeal for the entire family.

Sunday’s event was a welcome break, said June Shafer.

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“It’s local and close and it’s real nice,” said Shafer.


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