INDIANAPOLIS — Camp Brave Eagle and Camp Silver Moon aren’t like all the other summer camps. They give kids with bleeding disorders, like hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and Von Willebrand disease a chance to just be kids.
The camps are held at the YMCA’s Camp Crosley in northern Indiana, and campers get a chance to do fun activities like kayaking, archery, and swimming while also learning how to manage their conditions.
“They teach us how to take care of ourselves,” said 13-year-old camper at Camp Brave Eagle, Kate Blackwell. “So, kids with hemophilia will learn how to infuse themselves with their medicine, and kids with Von Willebrand disease, like me, learn how to take their medicine and take care of themselves.”
Blackwell says during the school year she’s on the swim team, track team, and runs cross country, but now that it’s time for camp she’s excited to try out log rolling.
“I think the kids are just ready to get back out and meet other kids,” said Jennifer Maahs, a hemophilia nurse practitioner, “They don’t call it social distancing at camp, they call it physical distancing because they want camp to totally be social.”
She says since these bleeding disorders are rare, some of the kids don’t have anyone at their schools to relate to, but at camp they’re able to build bonds with kids who have similar health conditions as them.
“The people you’re in your cabin with become your best friends for that whole week,” said Blackwell. “You all understand each other.”
Then by the end of camp the campers might earn their big stick, a wooden staff with their named burned into it. It’s given to the campers who learn how to give themselves their medicine and take charge of their chronic disorders.
Camp starts Sunday.