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Valley woman builds legacy at Camp Korey Citizen of the Week

Jan Sliger, a North Bend resident raising funds to send seriously ill children to a summer camp created in honor of her nephew, is the Valley Record’s latest Citizen of the Week.

Sliger has engaged in a grassroots effort to build a living legacy for her nephew, Korey Rose, who died from bone cancer in 2004 at the age of 18. Starting this summer, Camp Korey at Carnation Farm will host children with severe health problems, giving them a chance to forget their medical worries and just have fun.

Making living with serious illness a little easier for children and their families is a cause close to Sliger’s heart. When Korey was being treated at Children’s Hospital following his cancer diagnosis at age 16, she appreciated the way staff made him and other young patients comfortable.

“The little kids with tubes, IVs, everything, [were] being pulled around in a wagon by volunteers, and they all had this huge smile on their face because they were treated so wonderfully there,” she said.

When her brother, Korey’s father Tim Rose, decided to found Camp Korey, a medically-supported facility where children can play, tell stories around campfires and enjoy nature, Sliger knew she had to be a part of it.

“I want to be as involved as I can, whatever I can do – if it’s just reading to the kids, if it’s helping out when they’re dining,” Sliger said.

Until Camp Korey opens this July, when it will host children with facial differences, Sliger is directing her energy toward the massive effort underway to fund the camp, which is free to campers and families. She sells raffle tickets and donated cookbooks, and is organizing a chili lunch and silent auction to be held June 8. She’s helping to coordinate a May 31 open house, where the public is invited to check out the historic Carnation Farm and learn about Camp Corey.

Sliger’s eyes light up when she talks about her nephew, who she said never lost his sense of humor.

“He had his leg amputated above the knee, and he still had that sparkle about him,” she said. “After the amputation, a doctor wrote an application for a handicap placard, and Korey said, ‘Does this mean that my leg’s going to grow back in three months?’ The doctor was confused, and Korey said, ‘You gave me a temporary sticker for three months.’”

When Korey started having health problems, Sliger also suffered a brain aneurysm, and her husband a stroke.

“I’ve been through a lot of things, and I would think, ‘poor pitiful me.’ And then I saw how Korey handled all the things that happened to him, and it just made me into a stronger person, to have such a role model as this 18-year-old man. He brought so much joy to all of our lives.”

She can’t wait to see Camp Korey spread joy to others.

“The first time I came up here, all I could do was cry. But now when I come, I don’t cry. I smile, because I see what it will be, and how wonderful it will be, and I know that Korey will always be a part of it. “

• More information about Camp Korey is online at www.campkorey.org. Or, call Sliger at (425) 831-7680.

• Do you know Valley residents who deserve recognition for their good work? Nominate them for Citizen of the Week, an award co-sponsored by the Valley Record and Replicator Graphics. Send your ideas to editor@valleyrecord.com.

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