A group of youngsters with serious health conditions enjoyed a weekend away with Camp Simcha, packed with fun and a rare taste of the independence their conditions often prohibit.
Among the 20 children who attended the Camp Simcha retreat in Northamptonshire, was Dora Stone, eight, who suffers from complex epilepsy.
Less than 24 hours before she was due to leave for the trip, Dora had been admitted to hospital for seizures.
Her mother Kay explains: “Dora’s epilepsy is very hard to control, and she gets what is known as cluster seizures. This is what happened on the day before the trip. She was so looking forward to retreat and I felt so upset that she might miss out again – as so often happens because of her condition.
“When Camp Simcha was preparing for her to go on retreat, they had done a full risk assessment and looked at what measures needed to be in place for her to go along; they had organised for her to have a dedicated nurse full-time, who would stay in her room at night.
“By the next day, the morning she was due to leave, the medication had worked and we knew the seizures were under control, so we decided she should go. Dora got home from hospital at 2pm and by 3pm she was on the Camp Simcha coach.
“I can’t think of any other circumstances where I would have felt comfortable letting Dora go. But I knew Camp Simcha had everything in place to keep her safe.
“Dora had the best time, having fun and making new friends, as well as time away from us which is good for her independence. In addition, we had some time to focus on her younger sister after what had been a very tricky few days.”
Camp Simcha Head of Services Daniel Gillis explained that the Children’s Retreat has a doctor on site and specialised carers for each child’s needs, with those who attend having a range of complex medical conditions including cancer and genetic conditions.
Activities during the weekend included archery, indoor climbing, Dynamic team games, themed activities, a fire and glow show and bowling.