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Gifts of $5 to $500 acknowledged today helped to build the Buffalo News/Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund to $44,014.29.

This 45th annual campaign to help Cradle Beach Camp serve another 800 selected boys and girls in July and August is still a long way from its usual $100,000-plus success.

No one can fully understand how much Cradle Beach Camp does for its campers and staff people. Campers who can't walk, see, hear or even feed themselves learn what it is to hear the shouts, laughter and songs of other young people. Staffers encourage them and, in turn, are inspired by the courageous campers. Together, the well and the handicapped, the young and the old learn that good things do happen.

"I like this camp," wrote Nerita, a young camper in The Crier, the camp's mimeographed publication. "I am coming here next year and next year and next year. The pool is so hot that it's steaming in the morning when we go to polar bear swim. I go every morning. . . ."

"My counselor, Neicy, is nice," wrote Felicia. "Lisa is pretty. P.S. Faith and Anna are nice too."

Gifts to finance Cradle Beach Camp's four sessions may be mailed to The Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo, 14240. All will be acknowledged; all the money goes for camp operations.

The views of campers are tempered by time, but the messages do not change. Former campers and counselors alike recollect their days at the 40-acre camp off Old Lake Shore Road near Angola.

Marquetta Hunter, a former camper, recently sent this message to Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve. D-Buffalo:

". . . Cradle Beach Camp serves those truly in need -- from abused children to those with multiple physical handicaps. Cradle Beach answers the question of a blind child, 'What is a wave?' It is the focus of hope for a brain-damaged child."

Debra Shields of Angola writes bluntly too.

"My retarded foster children look forward to going to Cradle Beach Camp in the summer."

Many fund donors tie the needs of today's children to the love and memories of people they treasure. Many gifts are sent in memory of departed relatives and friends.

"Just a small token in memory of parents," wrote a North Collins contributor.

"It's great to read in the daily articles that the kids have a lot of fun at Cradle Beach," wrote a Lancaster donor. This shows that the people running the camp each summer are doing a terrific job."

A listing of acknowledged donations appears today on Page B6.

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