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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sharing Simcha -- Part IV

Lifeguarding is hard work. Especially in a camp. How does one remain vigilant after spending hours outside in the summer heat? In Camp Simcha and Simcha Special, at least they have the benefit of making miracles daily.

Chemotherapy had bloated Leah's body beyond recognition. Movement was difficult for her; she almost never left her wheelchair, and talking, even smiling, was painful. To the casual observer, it would almost seem as if she could do... nothing.

Not in Camp Simcha.

We were surprised to see Leah accompany her bunk to the pool. But nothing could have prepared us for the transformation that happened after she was wheeled in one of the special pool chairs down the ramp (now where else have you seen a wheelchair-accessible swimming pool?) It was as if Leah's limbs had suddenly been released from the shackles that held them stiff all the time. Once in the water, she was able to move freely and even gracefully. For one hour, she was just like a regular, healthy kid!

The effects didn't end there, either. After drying off, Leah got to head back to the bunk with friends who saw that she, too, had talent. Friends who knew more than ever that she could be just like them. The kid who looked to "outsiders" like a silent lump in a chair had found her place to shine.

Though it may seem basic, the pool is actually a major part of the Simcha experience. Many campers, like Leah, are limited in their range of motion. In camp, they can come to the pool and break free of their uncooperative bodies every day. For various reasons, swimming is not usually accessible to many of the campers. However, with the medical team on call constantly and specially-trained staff, they can swim safely and securely.

Please help support Camp Simcha and Simcha Special by sponsoring me in the Team Lifeline marathon!

5 comments:

Lvnsm27 said...

very inspiring

The Babysitter said...

I never thought of that. So the wheel chairs are waterproof?

I can imagine all the expenses they must have to cater to all their needs.

Bas~Melech said...

They have special waterproof wheelchairs by the pool, and a ramp that goes all the way in.

BEHIND A SMILE said...

Having spend my summer in a camp for children with disabilities these posts really speak to me. Thanks for sharing.

I agree with the difference one can see on children in the pool. It is amazing how the water supports them and they can move limbs that they couldnt otherwise.

Btw hooked on that travel IQ - its great :)

tofuttiQT said...

Such an amazing chesed!