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Building a Legacy of Joy / Nick Ehrhardt

Building a Legacy of Joy

In 2005, Eric Lentz was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. According to The Skokie Review, Lentz was told he had up to 18 months to live. When he received the news, he started building. He had long dreamed of making a camp for children in need, and his diagnosis spurred him to finally start pursuing that dream. Along with his wife, Lentz purchased land in Wisconsin and set about turning it into a camp. His struggle, against time and the ravages of his disease, inspired others to join him, and soon he had an army of volunteers behind him.

In 2010, when Rustic Falls Nature Camp opened, Lentz credited his work on the camp, and his desire to see it completed, as part of the reason he had managed to beat cancer for so long. Hundreds of children and their families have enjoyed the camp in the years since its opening, finding peace, joy and fun together.

Lentz died this summer, nine years after his original diagnosis. The camp he built remains a testament to his dream and his desire to help others, and will continue to do so in his memory. According to The Chicago Tribune, Lurie Children's Hospital sends patients to Rustic Falls several times throughout the year.