SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 UTAH) There are all kinds of camps that go on in Utah during the summer. And includes a really unique on up at Camp Kostopulos in Salt Lake City. The camp, which is known to provide opportunities for those with disabilities host a camp called Transplant Week.
Summer Camp in Utah. Often it involves water and a lot of laughter. This camp, which was in the middle of canoeing day on Little Dell on Wednesday, is no exception. However, there is one big difference. You see, at this camp every single participant has had an organ transplant.
12-year-old Emma Watson had a got a new liver when she was six-years-old. “I was four months in the hospital.” “But I went back and forth for like two years.” The Salt Lake City girl has been coming to Camp Kostopulos Transplant Week now for three years. “Why do you come to camp? I just feel comfortable to like relate stories to other people.” “Like two years ago, I was talking to a girl and we figured out we had the same nurse.”
Each one of the kids attending this week’s camp has a similar story. Annie Rowan – a 12-year-old from St. George – has now attended the camp for three times. I asked her about that. (Don) “Why do you keep coming to transplant camp? (Annie) “Because its fun and I get to know other people who have had the same problem that I had. (Don) You feel that connection? (Annie) Yes.”
They say there is a special bond and no judgement between the kids who come to Transplant Camp. The girls tell me – everyone understands. “Camp K is just real fun to relax and talk to other people who have the same problems.”
That is something that has been happening at the unique camp for 20 years. Just ask Vanessa Stubbs. “I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I went three consecutive years.” Stubbs attended the camp after her liver transplant 16 years ago. “It was structured enough that there was always something fun to do, but there was free time and so we were able to mingle and talk to each other and we all had something to relate to and so I wasn’t this weird kid who stood out.” Now the mother and wife is back volunteering at the camp and hoping to help the next generation. She believes some may need a little inspiration, while others have already found it.
Stubbs says its amazing to see the medical advancements that have been made in the past decade. She says children who get transplants today recover faster and have to take less medication than when she had her transplant 16 years ago.
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