Most children with a debilitating disease or chronic illness may never experience the thrill of meeting new friends, hiking new territories, or just being on their own in the common world of summer camp. At Cincinnati Children’s, children with a variety of conditions from life-threatening to profoundly challenging, have the opportunity to have this experience. Since 2001, more than 600 children have attended camps organized by Cincinnati Children’s direct-care nurses and APRNs. These camps are either offered for free or at a significantly reduced cost. There are camps for children with sickle cell disease, bleeding disorders, cancer, congenital or acquired heart disease, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Round-the-clock medical care and fully staffed clinics are available at each camp. These campers do all the same things that any child would do at camp; they sing songs, make crafts, play games, and may even try the ropes courses.
Sometimes away from home for the first time, these children learn self-management techniques that they will use in their everyday care when they return to their home setting. Parents often note the positive change in their child resulting from being with peers who have mastered personal care management and note that the experience gave their son or daughter the courage to take the next step in managing their own care while making new friends.
Thanks to generous support from donors this camp experience is free to children and their families.