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The note that accompanied the check to this year's Buffalo News/Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund drive was short and direct:

"This summer, you will be 103 years old. Here is a dollar for each year of your life."

The gift and letter came from Anna Balowitz of Buffalo, "a camper for the last nine years."

The gift was among those that sent the total received so far in this 45th annual drive to $36,681.29.

The gifts will help buy nearly two weeks of fun and special attention for about 800 boys and girls invited to Cradle Beach Camp.

About half will have some sort of physical disability. The remainder are selected for other reasons. The two groups and their counselors come together during each of the four camp weeks in July and August on the 40-plus-acre campgrounds on the shores of Lake Erie near Angola.

A Buffalo mother put another perspective on Cradle Beach Camp.

"Cradle Beach Camp has helped my son so much," she said. "He looks forward to going there every year. He's had three eye operations. They didn't help at all.

"I have no money and can't afford for him to have a good summer vacation except when he is at Cradle Beach Camp, where he has been welcomed with open arms and hearts. He loves to help other handicapped children, and that has taught him to be caring."

When the campers depart, tears often flow. They help to root memories of good times, summer songs, swimming, games, laughter, learning, fun and prayer.

New gifts may be mailed to The Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo 14240. Gifts go only to the Camp Fund, and they will be acknowledged. A list of today's donors is on Page C4.

"My husband was at Cradle Beach Camp some 55 years ago," a Hamburg grandmother wrote in sending her gift. "He has very fond memories of it. Thank God for our healthy grandchildren."

Among the other donors recognized today are employees of the Derrick Manufacturing Corp. who took up a collection.

Many business, union, club and classroom organizations pool their gifts -- sometimes in memory of a colleague or classmate, and sometimes just to help someone else.

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