April 19 03:25 PM
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MDA camps provide unique opportunities

Dear Editor:

As an intern for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), I have been afforded a wonderful opportunity to help others while learning and growing as a person and intellectually. However, the most important part of this experience was realized yesterday, when I had the opportunity to attend MDA Summer Camp at both Camp Cavell in Lexington and Lions Bear Lake Camp in Lapeer.

Immediately upon my arrival to camp, it was obvious how important this camp is to the children. Each child was full of joy, smiling and laughing, with full confidence in themselves and their abilities. The word "disability" was not part of the camp for the youth, and was replaced by the word "ability." They were no longer the minority, but the majority. After being at the camp for only moments, I no longer noticed the sea of wheelchairs, but only the faces of the smiling children.

By attending camp, I was able to understand why the volunteers who aid the children return year after year, many having a special bond with their camper. At camp, the children can climb trees, ride horses, swim, dance, and play as able-bodied children can. They can also ask questions and support each other in their time of need. No one at camp is alone. They have not only each other, but a support network of friends, volunteers, and sponsors who care deeply abut each child.

The camp is held every year for youth affected with one of 43 muscular dystrophies and, for many of them, MDA Summer Camp is the "best week of the year!" Each child is able to attend the camp free of charge, and the $650 cost to send a child to camp is covered by the generous support of community members and corporate sponsors. The biggest fundraiser for the camp is the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, which airs on September 2-3 annually.

I strongly urge anyone interested to volunteer or support the MDA Summer Camp program. It is only with the help of the community that these children can hope that a cure is found for their disease. But until then, we continue to fight for the children in our communities served by MDA and provide them with an opportunity to build confidence in themselves and allow them to experience things many of us take for granted.

From all of the campers, thank you for providing the funding for our fun-filled week at summer camp. It is because you cared, we are able to swim, dance, play sports, do arts and crafts and make lifelong friends at camp.

Kate Day, Regional Public Affairs Coordinator
June 27, 2007

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