I want to thank each and every one who made Camp Setebaid possible and for giving Frankie a truly life-altering experience! Discovering he had diabetes just as his grandmother’s cancer had returned and his home was severely damaged in Hurricane Sandy had turned Frankie’s world upside down. Frankie went from a relaxed, carefree and happy-go-lucky kid to a quiet and withdrawn young man. His friends didn’t understand diabetes and Frankie’s diabetes served as the catalyst for friends going in other directions. Frankie felt very alone and isolated. It was a very difficult two years for him.
Thus I looked to surround Frankie with people who would love him, support him, encourage him, and understand him. He served as a Youth Ambassador for diabetes, which was a positive experience for him! I learned about Camp Setebaid at Swatara and knew it would be a great way for him to just get away and be a kid again and get his smile back.
Words cannot express the joy and relief I felt looking at the gallery of pictures while Frankie was at camp. I saw his smile and my little man was relaxed and happy. I saw the sparkle he used to have return to his eyes! I witnessed Frankie enjoying life; he was carefree again; for that I will be forever grateful. I saw the child I knew before life became so hard for him—before diabetes. It was such a deeply moving feeling.
I knew for a fact Frankie felt the same when he came home from camp. I asked him what was his favorite part of camp. One might have expected to hear the ropes course, swimming, hiking or the general high-jinks teenagers play. Frankie’s response: “My favorite part of camp was feeling normal and like I belonged again. It’s been a really long time since I felt like that!” Those were such powerful words to me and it was so evident to both of us in that moment that his camp experience was a life-changing, transformational experience. That one sentence summed it all up!
So…thank you to everyone, the staff, the volunteers, and the donors, who make Setebaid camps possible. I am eternally grateful for the gift you have given my son! Please continue to work the transformational magic of Camp Setebaid.