Archive for January, 2016

An Oasis for Kids with IBD

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “oasis” as the following:

“A place or period of calm or pleasure in the midst of a difficult or hectic situation; a place of relief, a refuge.”

When looking at this definition, it is clear that the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) picked the right name for their camp for kids living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Camp Oasis.

“Camp saved my life. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to hide who I truly was,” Jessica Heirtzler said, a  23-year-old IBD patient who was diagnosed at age 8. “Everyone at camp- both campers and volunteers- taught me that Crohn’s isn’t who I am, but it is a part of me and I should embrace it. Camp Oasis helped me grow into a confident woman who accepts and loves herself for exactly who she is. I am now completely open about having Crohn’s disease and I have Camp Oasis to thank for that.”

Camp Oasis

As an adult I often think about my disease and what I miss the most. I always come to the same conclusion: normalcy. Camp Oasis helps kids who live with extraordinary circumstances feel normal.

Disney Channel Liv and Maddie actor Benjamin King, a Crohn’s disease patient, echoes this sentiment.

“Dealing with Crohn’s as an adult, I know how difficult it can be to cope with this disease. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for children to live with the debilitating pain and uncertainty Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can cause,” King said. “As a father, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits that summer camp has on children. The existence of Camp Oasis to give children with Crohn’s and colitis a safe environment to come together and bond over a shared experience is tremendous.”

11895208_875551942530685_4867754905188014262_oWhile I haven’t personally experienced Camp Oasis, people I trust have expressed what a truly amazing, inspiring and therapeutic experience the week-long experience is for campers, counselors and volunteers. And while many Americans are trying to keep warm these days, it’s time to look forward to summer.

Applications are now open for Camp Oasis’s 2016 summer sessions. CCFA runs many 12 week-long camp sessions across the country, attracting not only campers but also hundreds of volunteer counselors and medical professionals. The best part is that CCFA underwrites 65 percent of the cost of camp attendance, and scholarships are available for campers-in-need. If this is where my Take Steps money is going, than that’s completely fine by me!

Below is a list of Camp Oasis’s 2016 summer sessions. Click here for more information about the program.

Camp Oasis of California
Session Dates: Monday, June 20th – Saturday, June 25th
Host Site: Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times – Mountain Center, CA

Camp Oasis of Colorado
Session Dates: Sunday, July 10th – Friday, July 15th
Host Site: YMCA Camp Shady Brook – Deckers, CO

Camp Oasis of Georgia
Session Dates: Sunday, June 19th – Friday, June 24th
Host Site: Camp Will-A-Way – Winder, GA

Camp Oasis of Michigan
Session Dates: Sunday, July 10th – Saturday, July 16th
Host Site: YMCA Camp Copneconic – Fenton, MI

Camp Oasis of Minnesota
Session Dates: Monday, July 25th – Saturday, July 30th
Host Site: One Heartland – Willow River, MN

Camp Oasis of Missouri
Session Dates: Sunday, August 7th – Sunday August 11th
Host Site: YMCA Camp Lakewood – Potosi, MO

Camp Oasis of New York
Session Dates: Tuesday, August 16th – Sunday, August 21st
Host Site: Camp Scatico – Elizaville, NY

Camp Oasis of Pennsylvania
Session Dates: Monday, August 15th – Saturday, August 20th
Host Site: Camp Nock-A-Mixon – Kintnersville, PA

Camp Oasis of Texas
Session Dates: Saturday, August 13th – Wednesday, August 17th
Host Site: URJ Greene Family Camp – Bruceville, TX

Camp Oasis of Washington
Session Dates: Sunday, June 26th – Saturday, July 2nd
Host Site: YMCA Camp Colman – Longbranch, WA

Camp Oasis of Wisconsin
Session Dates: Sunday, August 14th – Friday, August 19th
Host Site: Lutherdale Ministries – Elkhorn, WI

Camp Oasis of West Virginia
Session Dates: Tuesday, June 21st – Saturday, June 25th
Host Site: Camp Tall Timbers – High View, WV
11958296_875567895862423_2388311100840254785_o

*Photos via CCFA’s Facebook Page.

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January 15, 2016 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

Congress Commits Funding to Find a Cure for IBD

While a mention of the United States Congress is often met with an exacerbated sigh, we IBDers and caregivers have a reason to thank our Congressmen and women this new year. The week prior to Christmas, Congress gave us a gift by passing the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending bill. The bill included $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds important medical research on a wide array of illnesses, including inflammatory bowel diseases. This is funding increase of $2 billion from the previous year represents a significant commitment by Congress to finding cures.

In the bill, Congress also supported the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Epidemiology Study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While this sounds all great on paper, I wasn’t sure what exactly this meant for patients like me. To answer my questions, I spoke with Sarah Buchanan, Director of Advocacy at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, for more information. Here’s what I learned:

(more…)

January 5, 2016 at 9:59 am Leave a comment


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