I was a counselor this year once more at a camp for kids with CHD. The camp is Nick and Kelly Children’s Heart Camp in Prescott, AZ. My cabin was wonderful. I had three campers that I had last year, so it was great getting to see them again this year.
On the last day of camp my girls found some plastic on the floor and tied it around their head to look like they were oxygen. They ran around the cabin shouting, "Look, I'm Sandy!" (Sandy is my counselor camp name). Honestly, seeing that brought tears to my eyes.
I have never had someone want to look like me. Never had someone want to wear oxygen. It’s always been seen as a negative, or something that could hold me back. But these girls saw the beauty in my oxygen and all the things that it has allowed me to do.
My oxygen has allowed me to go to camp two years in a row now. My campers saw me go on the Giant Swing (which is amazing!), go horseback riding, play archery, shoot riflery, dance around the cafeteria during meal times, and partake in all the night time activities camp had this year—all while wearing my oxygen. And the fact that they wanted to copy me and wear oxygen like me brought tears to my eyes.
I've always seen my oxygen as something positive, but still, with a bit of annoyance. However, the fact that 9- to 11-year-old girls saw it with absolute positivity and wanted to wear it gave me a new appreciation for it and what it can do for me and so many others like me.
People who wear oxygen so often are seen as sick, weak or frail. But for five days my beautiful, wonderful, strong campers gave me the gift of seeing me as anything but weak or sick. So thank you to my wonderful campers who changed my life this summer. I can never repay you for what you have given me.
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