The toughies

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Today, I had the awesome opportunity to go to Camp Del-Ja-Ri at Camp Mack to spend the day with kids with arthritis. It's cool on so many levels; all the kids immediately have something to bond over, there's a doctor from Riley Children's Hospital on hand to take care of kiddos and dispense medicine, and the kids get a real camp experience without the embarrassment of having needs that other kids probably don't have. 

I got to camp around 9 today and was immediately greeted with a hug by my little friend Payton (age 5ish). She's a doll and always has a smile on her face, even when she feels crummy. My other little buddy, Caleb, wasn't feeling well and was sidelined on the couch. But I was happy to see him (and holy cow, kids grow a LOT in a year!). Upon my arrival, we were off to make candles before heading back to camp to put together care packages for the troops overseas. After that, we went inside to do some Jazzercise, and Caleb even got in on the act with some arm movements from the couch. It was awesome to see the kids have fun, marching around the room, laughing, and giggling at the moves (even though they loved them). We went to lunch, and then it was nappy time for the kiddos, so I let them rest and came home. 

I LOVE having this experience every year because it reminds me just how tough kids with arthritis are. They may appear fragile, especially during a flare up, but emotionally, they're toughies. The put on brave faces, stay as active as they can, and don't lament the cards they've been dealt. They're just toughies! 

I think there's so much we can learn from kids. I remember when I was going through my diagnosis, I was at Riley for a body scan. I had to drink these TERRIBLE tasting RADIOACTIVE medicine drinks every 30 minutes. And no, cutting them with Kool-Aid did little to make them taste better. I was miserable. I was so tired. I hurt everywhere. My patience were non-existent. And then, going past me on the shoulders of his father, there was an adorable little boy. He had lost all of his hair -- he was obviously going through chemo -- and he gave me the toothiest, biggest grin. I smiled back and vowed right then to suck it up and not complain about my lot in life. 

The kids I saw today remind me of the boy with the toothy grin. They're happy. They're strong. They're optimistic. And they should be. It's a beautiful life they're living, and they don't forget it for a second. They're the toughies. 

1 comment:

  1. So awesome!!! Lucky kids to have you and lucky you to learn from them :)


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