“Do you think I will be able to go to camp this year?”
Twelve-year-old Nora has attended North Star Reach for two summers, learning new skills, gaining confidence, and making friends with other kids who also have congenital heart disorders. “In just a short span of time,” she says, “I formed a lasting bond with all these kids who understand what I live with every day: they live with it too.” Nora is hoping to join her friends at Cardiology Camp in July following a surgery on her spine in June.
My name is Nora and I’m 12 years old. I’ve been a camper at North Star Reach for two summers so far. I have had nine surgeries since I was two years old–on my heart, ears, spine and hands–and take medicine every day for chronic pain. I’ve also had a pacemaker since I was two.
When I tell people about my experiences in the hospital they are like, “Oh, that’s awful you poor thing!” And sometimes they don’t know what to say. But at camp I met Maria–she had holes in her heart like I did. I also met a few people who had little machines that kept their heart beating. In just a short span of time, I formed a lasting bond with all these kids who understand what I live with every day: they live with it too.
Camp at North Star Reach has given me confidence! It’s hard not to feel self-conscious about your stitches when you wear a bathing suit. But it’s not that bad, to be honest. At camp, I learned to fish. I sang on stage for the first time.
This June, I’ll have another surgery on my spine. The first question I asked the doctors was, “Do you think I will be able to go to camp this year?” I hope I can. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing my friends from last year.
Though our camp feels like a traditional camp, behind the scenes is a state-of-the-art health center staffed by world-class doctors and nurses. North Star Reach also offers a Sibling Camp, for brothers and sisters of campers with a medical condition. Nora’s sister, Haddie, and brother, Fletcher, joined us last summer. The video below shows how camp has made a difference to their whole family.
If you’re inspired to help kids like Nora, Haddie and Fletcher attend camp at no cost to their families, please consider a donation.