The kids at Camp Michi-MAC are enjoying the outdoors like any other summer campers. But, they do have conditions that could be deadly. Taryn Harrison says, "When I go swimming, sometimes and I'm around smoke, I can start coughing and I can't breath out of my nose."
Nine-year-old Taryn and her sister never thought they would be able to do this type of camp over the summer. However, the week-long camp allows kids with asthma and allergies to have fun with close supervision. The Executive Director of the Camp, Mary Hagen says, "We have a volunteer medical staff that comes in.... doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists." She says, if the kids run into any problems, they have the medicine available. They can also help with the breathing to make sure they can stay at camp.
The campers are allowed to do a number of activities including riding horses, swimming, rock wall climbing, kayaking, and lots of other outdoor fun because the medical staff is ready 24-7.
Hagen says they already had a life saving situation this past week in which they had to take a child to the ER to get the asthma under control. However, that child was able to stay at the camp after treatment.
The DUCTZ company donated money so that Taryn, her sister and another camper could have the experience through the company's "Camps For Kidz" Program. Founder John Rotche says he started the program in part because his own son suffers from asthma. Taryn says, "Last night we actually slept in a barn, there was like a couple bats and I was very scared." Meanwhile, her cousin explains how the camp is teaching them that they can do what they want without asthma getting in the way. Natalie James says, "You get to ride on a horse and it lets you go kayaking, lets you jump off a life-guard tower....You can just be who you want to be."
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Michigan Chapter along with the Michigan Allergy and Asthma Society established Camp Michi-MAC in 1980. Children grades 3-9 attend the camp each year. Hagen says about 50 campers attend yearly. She says fundraising takes place throughout the year to send campers there that may have financial hardships. For more information, you can check out the camp online at http://www.aafamich.org/CampMichiMac.html