KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For many children battling a chronic illness, attending summer camp usually is not an option. However, one special camp held at Three Trails Camp and Retreat Center in Kansas City is making it possible for children battling kidney disease.
“These kids can’t go to other summer camps because their medical needs are so complex," Amy Nau, Nursing Director at Camp ChiMer, said. "Here at Camp ChiMer, we provide them with the medical support and nursing support they need to be able to have a healthy camp experience."
The five-day overnight camp is for children ages 9 to 18 who all have either had a kidney transplant or require dialysis to keep them healthy.
More than 9,800 kids are living with kidney failure in the U.S.
This year the camp hosting more than 50 of these patients from all over the country.
"I think it`s great the kids get to be kids, and those who have issues don`t always get that chance," Jeannie Sutton, Providor of Relations Director at LogistiCare, said. "I transport a lot of people who are on dialysis, and I see how restricted their lives can be, and I don`t think kids need to be restricted. This is a great way for them to have fun and not to worry about it."
Sutton bussed two campers from Wichita so they could enjoy a week in the worry free environment, like, 18-year old Isaac Wood. He said it is his seventh time attending the camp.
"Personally, it is the best part for me," Wood said. "Being able to leave my home and actually go somewhere and do stuff with people that are in the same situation as you, or same situation you used to be in, but also being able to be outdoors in general, and interact with people."
Wood says his kidneys began to fail at age nine. He was on dialysis for five years before getting a transplant.
While he is currently in post transplant recovery, Wood is returning to camp for the final time, for an experience he says is responsible for changing his life.
This is the 33rd year of the camp.