“Aaron” had heard the tales of summer camp: sitting around campfires, singing corny songs, canoeing, hiking through nature. And he was desperate to share those kinds of memories with his friends. Unfortunately, in his 8 years of life, Aaron hadn’t shared many experiences with people his own age. After being diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at a young age, most of his memories were of times spent with doctors and nurses. So, for Aaron, camp was more than a fun summer getaway — it was a shot at being a “normal kid”.
His parents agreed that it was time for Aaron to make his own summer camp memories. However, one obstacle stood in Aaron’s way. Although he was currently in remission, the lingering effects of his cancer had left him wheelchair-bound. He wondered if his limitation would keep him from being able to fully enjoy a true summer camp experience.
Then, he heard about Camp Little Red Door (Camp LRD), a United Way-supported summer camp for children who have battled cancer. With facilities that adapt to all abilities, the campers enjoy all the same fun activities of a traditional summer camp. And, they also have access to round-the-clock medical staff. Aaron signed up immediately.
Aaron made friends right away. For the first time, he was meeting a campground full of people his age who have shared his experiences and know what it’s like to deal with cancer. Together, they participated in all the typical camp activities he had heard about: campfires, nature adventures, etc. And, as the camp was coming to a close, he conquered his biggest Camp LRD thrill: a zipline made to could accommodate someone in a wheelchair!
Because of United Way, Little Red Door and you, Aaron’s summer camp dream came true. Moreover, he was able to meet new, lifelong friends who understand his experiences and give him hope for his future. Aaron is counting the days until he gets to return to Camp LRD in 2016!
Note: United Way works to improve the lives of all Central Indiana residents by focusing our work in four key areas – Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs. Little Red Door is a United Way-funded agency addressing one or more of these priorities by enabling cancer patients to understand, detect and navigate cancer, and reducing the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of cancer for the working poor and unemployed Hoosiers.