Ravindu Ranatunga I Plank
The MDA Summer Camp is a chance to give kids with neuromuscular disease a world of their own. While being entertained with arts and crafts, swimming, relay races and much more, these campers get a chance to meet others with similar disabilities. MDA camp is an opportunity to give kids with muscular dystrophy a week where every day seems like it’s their birthday and that is exactly what Adam McGrew set out to do.
Having heard about the MDA Camp through Jesuit, Adam wanted to gain experience with kids who were disabled, so the camp seemed to fit like a hand in a glove. “I wanted to help kids, who might otherwise not have had a very fun summer experience at a traditional summer camp, have an awesome week in the mountains at MDA,” Adam mentioned.
Muscular dystrophy is a disease in which the muscles of the body get weaker and weaker and slowly stop working. In laymen’s terms, our genes tell the body how to make proteins that our muscles need, but sometimes these genes may lack key information to properly make the proteins. When these proteins go awry, the body’s muscles tend to give way and break down over time. The MDA Camp is a time where the campers can just be happy in the shoes their wearing.
“A typical day at MDA was very long.” said Adam. He would wake up at 6:30 a.m., so that he could get ready before he had to wake his camper up at 7:00 a.m. Once the camper awoke, Adam needed to help him dress. Then they would head down to get some breakfast. After breakfast, Adam and his campers would take part in daily activities such as skits and arts and crafts. After a day’s worth of entertainment, he would sit down and eat with his camper. And afterwards, they would participate in another evening activity and then it was back to the cabin so the camper could be in bed by ten. “I was constantly doing activities with my camper during the day, so that by evening I was exhausted and ready for bed.” Adam explained.
Adam expressed that the most challenging aspect of his week was that he was on duty 24/7. For instance, if Adam’s camper was uncomfortable in the dead of the night, he would call Adam’s name, and then he would have to be there to adjust him until he was satisfied. Although Adam did not get much sleep, he absolutely loved his camp experience. “It made me happy to think that the kids were able to somewhat forget about their disability for a week and truly have fun without feeling like they were being judged by their peers. The time I spent at MDA camp was totally worth it!” Adam exclaimed.
Adam’s service experience is just one window that shines light on what we do here at Jesuit through service. Service is our chance to bring out the best in ourselves and others. It is a way for us to empathize with those who might otherwise be marginalized. Adam’s experience highlights the fact that in order to be a true Man For Others, we must be willing to sacrifice for the sake of understanding.