Updated: Apr 13, 2021
The transplant journey is tough. It is full of joy, pain and in some cases death of close friends. In my transplant journey I have experienced all of these and then some. Growing up, I attended a camp in Georgia for children who needed or had received an organ transplant. At this camp I saw the power of friendship. The friends I made at camp helped me get through the toughest times of my transplant journey. When I had the chance to become a counselor, I didn’t think twice. In becoming a counselor, I hoped to impact campers just like I had been impacted. After completing the junior counselor program, I became a full-fledged counselor.
My first cabin assignment was so much fun. I found myself being able to connect and relate to camper stories in a way only a fellow transplant recipient could. While I enjoyed my first year as a counselor, I also saw my campers struggle. After only one summer of being a counselor, I was helping campers the same way I had been helped. My hope is that I can continue being a positive influence in the lives of my campers. For some of my teen campers, I have known them since they were seven.
While I love camp, I know that the day is coming that it will be harder to return to camp. When that day comes, I will make sure to tell my campers that I care about them. I hope my campers know that they are accepted and valued just as they are. I hope that my campers will be comfortable expressing themselves. I hope that my campers will know that while their journey may be challenging, there are people ready to listen and help them along the way. Finally, I hope that my campers will never feel alone in their journey. The transplant journey is challenging but in the challenge is where you find joy.