I have worked in pediatric healthcare for 15 years. In that time I have seen just about every emotion and every story illness and injury have to offer. If you talk to someone who works with sick and critically injured children, they will likely tell you that the comment we hear most frequently is this… “I don’t know how you do it.”
Here’s the thing though. While there are most certainly bad days, I am no saint for powering through them. I am in fact, the lucky one. I get to bear witness to the greatest joys, the biggest worries, & yes, sometimes even the saddest ending. I don’t enjoy the part of my work that leads me to walk the difficult moments with families, but I am humbled by them. I have seen what many can only imagine, but contrary to what most people think… there is just as much good in that mix as there is bad… and I get to see that too. It’s a gift really.
It’s through my work that I first learned of Flying Horse Farms. There are many wonderful organizations out there dedicated in many different ways to helping and supporting families facing chronic illness, but I have watched this one grow and have seen its impact on local families first hand. I have friends who volunteer their time and I hear stories of students who have spent time there and walked away changed in a way they can’t quite describe.
“Flying Horse Farms provides magical, transformative camp experiences for children with serious illnesses and their families–free of charge. Located in scenic Mt. Gilead, Ohio, camp first opened its gates in 2010 and hosts hundreds of happy campers each year.”
The reality is that there are many kids who don’t get to go to camp due to the needs of their illness. Not only does Flying Horse Farms provide them with the opportunity to put being a kid first for a week, but they also staff the camp with the medical expertise needed to integrate care into the camp experience in a way that ensures both top-notch care and safety as well as minimal disruption for the camper. Campers range in age from 8-15 and have a variety of healthcare conditions, including cancer, heart conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, & facial anomalies.
Their interests and personalities are as different as the stars in the sky we camp under. But they’re all alike in two important ways: they have serious illnesses and courageous spirits. – Flying Horse Farms