Muscular dystrophy is a debilitating disease that touches the lives of adults and children alike. For anyone diagnosed, this muscle wasting disease will result in chronic health problems and a shorter lifespan. While many associate muscular dystrophy with Lou Gehrig’s disease, the most common and debilitating form is Duchenne muscular dystrophy which starts showing symptoms in children as early as two. Children with muscular dystrophy will over time lose the ability walk, to eat and to live an independent life. Typically, children with this disease are wheelchair bound by the age of 12.
“Normal” isn’t a word children with muscular dystrophy get to use very often but for one week in the summer, they are considered just that. The Muscle Dystrophy Association (MDA) Summer Camp is a program that allows children with muscle dystrophy to experience the fun and excitement of summer camp in an environment modified to meet their unique needs. MDA Summer Camp has all the activities of a typical summer camp: archery, horseback riding and arts and crafts. The camp is staffed by healthcare professionals and counselors who ensure each child’s wellbeing and make sure every child can participate in any activity they choose. With the support of local volunteers, emergency workers and health professionals for support, kids at MDA Summer Camp spend an entire week not worried about their disease but swimming, camping and having fun with other kids just like them.
Not only is MDA Summer Camp a fantastic way to support kids struggling with muscular dystrophy, but it’s also a way to support their parents and caregivers. Caring for a loved one with muscular dystrophy is not only financially exhausting but also emotionally and physically. Since muscular dystrophy is a wasting disease, children often have trouble breathing and just getting the chance to sleep through the night can do wonders for their caregiver’s health. MDA Summer Camp allows parents a week vacation knowing their child is being cared for with the same love and attention they receive at home.
This year, an estimated 40 Nevada children will attend MDA summer camp and Las Vegas Harley-Davidson needs your help getting them there! MDA Summer Camp receives no federal grants or funding. Instead, MDA Summer Camp relies on the generous donations of local residents and businesses. Each year, MDA Shamrocks can be seen covering the walls of local businesses with residents showing their support for muscular dystrophy sufferers in their community. The purchase of an MDA Shamrock goes directly to the $2,000 cost of sending a single child to camp.