Summer Camp Experience Possible Through Donor Dollars
For many children, the traditional summer camp experienceóhorseback riding, campfires, being away from home for the first timeóis part of growing up. But for some children, traditional summer camp isnít always possible because of health restrictions caused by chronic illnesses.
Thankfully, because of dollars given through Community Health Charities (CHC-NE), children with chronic health issues are able to attend medically-specific camps, which not only give them a summer camp experience, but also allow them to meet and spend time with other kids who share the same needs and experiences they do.
If you are interested in attending or volunteering at a camp, here are five that CHC-NE member charities are offering this year:
Camp SuperKids, American Lung Association (402-502-4950). June 14 to June 20 at YMCA Camp of the Okobojiís in Storm Lake, Iowa.
MDA Summer Camp, Muscular Dystrophy Association of Nebraska (402-390-2914). June 14 to June 19 at Camp Comeca in Cozad, Nebraska.
Camp Tap-A-Vein-A-Day-A, National Hemophilia Foundation, Nebraska Chapter (402-742-5663). August 21 to 23 at the Eastern NE 4-H Camp in Gretna, Nebraska.
Camp Oasis,Crohnís and Colitis Foundation of America, Nebraska/Iowa Chapter (402-505-9901.) July 27 to August 1 at One Heartland in Willow River, Minnesota.
Camp Spirit, Arthritis Foundation, Heartland Chapter (402-330-6130). June 14 to June 20 at YMCA Camp Kitaki in Louisville, Nebraska.
My name is Delmer Esters, and for the last year and a half I have been a hemodialysis patient. In 2006 my kidney function reached the point where I had to be put on dialysis. Believe it or not, I found out I had to be put on dialysis the same date in October my Dad died from the disease in 2005. With my father having kidney disease, I consistently immersed myself with data from the Internet, so that I could be as educated as possible. Little did I know that information would come in handy as I faced my own battle with the disease. Even after reading all I could about what was going to happen during dialysis, I have to admit I was still a bit scared at first.
Before my first treatment I was tired all the time, swollen due to fluid buildup, and I felt miserable, both mentally and physically. After my first treatment, I felt so much better. I instantly realized that life would go on, and that I didnít have to be restricted from doing normal, ordinary things. I didnít want to give up on life simply because I was connected to a machine 4 Ĺ hours three times a week. So, I decided to LIVE. I was able to work with my employer and I still work full-time with minimal time out of the office (I go to dialysis after 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday). My job requires travel to various parts of Nebraska to give presentations to high school students and their parents on financial aid, and I have not missed a beat! I even had the opportunity to travel to Boston in 2007 on behalf of my foundation for a conference, and I was able to have dialysis there. Last spring and fall I coached my sonís YMCA fourth grade flag football team. I walk to stay in shape, I cook and help maintain our household, and I have been married for 15 years to my wonderful wife, Lesley, and I am a father to three children ages 14, 11 and 10. Between driving my children to soccer practice, other school functions and date nights with my wife, I am busy all the time!
I also give presentations to various businesses on behalf of Community Health Charities of Nebraska, specifically for the American Diabetes Association and the Nebraska Kidney Association, to help raise money for research and programs, to help educate others about the disease and to share my own personal story. It is my hope that as people hear my story, they have a better understanding of the disease, and realize that their money and time can go a long way in helping those that might have a debilitating illness. I have had the time to really reflect about my life and how I want to live it. What I have realized is that life is short, relationships with family and friends are precious, and that you have to live each and every day with your best effort. I love to laugh; I believe laughter has helped me get through those rare times when I was down. I have cried has I have mourned my fatherís passing, and I have rejoiced in the grace of God and the many blessings he has given me. It is my personal belief that everything that happens in my life happens for a reason, so it is my hope that for whatever reason, my life is used to help others deal with the reality of the disease, and that it helps them see they too can have a productive, happy, fulfilling life.