For the past two years I have volunteered a week of my time to work at a camp for kids diagnosed with chrons and/or colitis. Here is my story.
Every year, for the past two years, I have volunteered a week of my time to help kids with Chrons and Colitis. Chrons is an inflammatory disease that can infect everything from your trachea all the way down to your intestines, and colitis just affects your intestines. Only 1% of the population get either of the two diseases, and you can be diagnosed at any age. CCFA was started in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D. in hopes of ultimately finding a cure for Chrons and Colitis (or U.C.), and improving the lives of children and adults affected with it. Now, almost 43 years later, CCFA is going stronger than ever.
Last year, I attended camp in Rutledge, Georgia. I was invited to come along as a counselor along with a fraternity brother of mine, Josh Oates. I personally do not have Chrons or Colitis, I do however have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). However, I absolutely love volunteering. When Josh told me about a camp for kids with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease), I truly had no idea what it was, but agreed to go along. Last year I learned a little about the disease, but didn't really understand a whole lot. This past year, I attended camp in Winder, Georgia. Here, I learned a lot more about the disease, and how much these kids have to go through. Many of them cannot eat many of the things we take for granted, such as popcorn, nuts, corn, etc. Some kids even have to eat through the use of a G-Tube (Gastrostomy Tube) because they can not eat food like us for one reason or another. If you have colitis, it may get to the point where you have to get your colon taken out completely, and a bag is inserted in its place.
CCFA - Camp Oasis caters to all kids ages 8 - 18. Last year, I was in charge of the 12-13 year old's, along with two co-counselors, Blake Weinberger, and Ben Barnes. Both of them were diagnosed with either Chrons or colitis. This year, I was in charge of the 11 - 12 year old's, along with Michael Ward, and David Boyn. Michael did not have Chrons, but instead had IBS like myself. David, has had Chrons since 2006. I just got back from camp yesterday, incredibly exhausted. Our camp, along with the camps in Texas, Pennsylvania, and California I believe is led by Jill Waddell. One of the best camp directors I know. She does not have Chrons or Colitis either, and I am not too sure whether she knows anyone outside of camp infected by it. Either way, the amount of time and effort that goes into planning together camp is incredible. Everything is run off of donations, and it only costs the children $200 to attend, even though it costs CCFA over $1000 per camper. This year, just over 100 kids attended camp I believe, along with over 20 counselors.
If you are interested in helping CCFA, please follow this link here: www.ccfa.org
Also, if you have any other questions for myself, I will try my best to answer them. If I don't know the answer, I will kindly direct you to someone who will.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article.