Summer Camp for Transplant Patients Underway

Summer Camp for Transplant Patients Underway

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingChildren who have had organ transplants have many special medical needs, but they still want to be just kids. This week about 40 transplant recipients have gathered at special summer camp that offers the usual array of camp activities with friends who understand their unique challenges.

These kids share an experience few of us can understand. But at the Youth Transplant Camp, sponsored by the Kidney Foundation of Utah, they can laugh and share stories.

There everybody has a scar and its okay.

Vanessa Stubler, Age 16, Liver Transplant: "Kids at school, how they look down on you and if you go to pools and stuff people are like, ‘what is on your stomach?’ They have to cut it like that so they can get all your organs. It’s a big scar. The liver is big organ."

Anthony Robbins say he has good friends at home in Rexburg, but he just can't talk to them about his kidney problems and transplant.

Anthony Robbins, Age 13, Kidney Transplant: "But last night I stayed up till 1:30 with the guys talking about our transplants. And like how long the doctors gave us and everything. And it was really cool and I never felt uncomfortable about it all."

The youth transplant camp was started five years ago by a mom who couldn't find a camp for her 15-year old daughter who had a heart transplant. They just couldn't provide the medical support. This one does.

Dwayne Green, Age 19 Jr. Counselor, Liver Transplant: "If you have catheter or a pick line they'll take you in the nurses station and help you with that. If you have any other disabilities, they'll help you out twenty-four seven."

Most of the kids participate in poetry workshops--a safe place to share their feelings. Each year camp teachers put together a book of their poetry. It gives a revealing look inside the fears and dreams of young people who have come face to face with death and survived to be a kid again.

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