The first time my dad died I was 10 years old. It was 1995 and my dad fell into a coma for 6 months following a bout with brain surgery gone awry. Fortunately, he woke up from that coma, but he fought hard for 14 years to be a father to my brother and me. He showed me the power of love in the face of adversity.
In 2009, when he had another stroke and fell back into a coma, we chose to set him free from the pain that had plagued him every waking moment of his life for 14 years. That was the easy reason to let him go.
The hard part was knowing I'd never hear his laugh or feel his hugs. I'd never experience him playfully slam the table as he lost a game of Old Maid. I wouldn't see him at my wedding. I would never introduce him to my children. Those are the things that still make me miss the man that brought me into this world.
After his death, I felt numb, and for a long time, I maintained that numbness by refusing to face the pain, the fear, the loss, and the sadness. All those ugly things stayed bottled up inside me as I disappeared into my 20's. Finally, an acting class gave me permission to confront those things. Confiding in my friends helped me return to the person I once was before my dad had died. And discovering Experience Camp has continued to help me heal.
The death of a loved one at a young age can send young boys and girls down a dangerous path. So, I'm asking you to help me raise money to send more grieving children, like I once was, to a camp that offers them tools to confront and understand the grief that confuses, enrages, saddens, or even, breaks them. Stronger than tools, the camp offers a community for these young people that supports them when the tools aren't enough. For one week each summer, these boys and girls have a safe place to call home. They have a team of professionals to counsel them; a powerful group of volunteers, like me, to bear witness to their pain; and a family of peers to share their experiences with, something their classmates at home can never do.
As I approach my 33rd birthday, I ask that you help me raise $5,000 to send more young children to Experience Camps.
Experience Camps wrote:
This past summer marked our 10th year of Experience Camps. In 2009, we held our first program with 27 boys at Camp Manitou and we've been off and running ever since. Next summer, we will have over 700 campers at 5 locations around the country. It is through the people who believe in us that we've been able to grow as fast as we have, and yet there's so much more to do.
Our volunteers, campers, families, partners, influencers, and supporters are the loudly ticking heart of this organization. Please join us in sharing the message, sharing your own story, and filling the fuel tank of this engine so we can keep reaching the kids who need us.