Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Joy of WALKING...Don't Need That Wheelchair Today!

When Parker didn't get into summer camp this year it devastated him.  In the past 3 years, Parker has not been in traditional school due to his medical issues and so camp is one of the very few opportunities he has to be around other kids and to have fun.  He spends way too much time in hospitals, getting procedures/tests, and in doctor offices.  One night he was in so much pain that he tried using his bio- feedback and think of his "happy place" and he thought of Boggy...but that turned into much grief.  He came and woke me in the middle of the night crying hysterically, because in that moment, at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, he realized that he was not only in overwhelming pain but grief with the thought that he wasn't going to camp this summer.

Three days later (so much has been coming in 3’s for us lately), we got a call that a spot came open and he could go to camp.  We were hesitant to let him go because he would not get back from camp until just the day prior to school starting; and he was re-entering into high school this year.  We know that camp can completely wipe him out because he uses so much energy...But we decided to send him because this is the one thing in his life that brings him complete sustaining joy.

Because Parker was in his "happy place" at camp and we knew that he was being safely looked after with the amazing medical staff on hand, my husband and I decided to take a short weekend trip to the beach, our "happy place".  We have not been alone on vacation for 5 years.  And our oldest son came to visit us on the beach each day to skim board..."his happy place".  We all experienced the JOY of camp...

We were actually a little nervous to pick Parker up from camp because we didn't know what physical condition camp would leave him, as he had to start school the next day.  We never, in all this journey, would have expected to see the "Parker" that came home that day...He came home a happy, stronger, more energized child than we have seen in 8 long years of struggle with this very mean disease.  And, because the camp schedule has an early rise-and-shine kind-of day...his sleep schedule was also now on track for school days.

And the next day, the first day of high school...the first day back in traditional school with no hospital home-bound, no more on-line classes...Parker didn't just decide to re-enter school...he decided to leave his wheelchair behind and WALK through those doors and into his new-found strength and re-boot on “being a kid”.  He did it!  And he has been doing it all week!  We know that Parker's strength and drive brought him here!  We know that our many prayers and continued hope pushed this opportunity into his path.  But what we didn't know is that Camp Boggy Creek would give us and our sweet child a gift that is beyond measure and is full of JOY for our entire family.  

The words “thank you” are not enough. Our hearts burst with appreciation far beyond what we could say with our voices.  And we are so very thankful that the Arthritis Foundation made this possible; that Paul Newman had the vision and love to start these amazing camps for children with life threatening and life altering chronic diseases; and that there are volunteers, staff, and medical professions that give of themselves so that our children may simply LIVE LIKE KIDS.  We love you dearly!
Much HOPE and LOVE for LIFE,

The Lentini Family

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