For some, losing a limb can feel like the end of the world.
At the Pine Tree Camp in Rome, kids who have suffered limb loss are spending this week learning that life may just be getting started.
“The first year, we only had 4 campers. Now we have about 160 people on the campsite at one time,” said Adrienne Damisis, a counselor at the camp.
It’s part of a nationwide effort called Camp No Limits and after a quick look around, it’s easy to see where they got the name. For the past 10 years, kids who have lost a limb have come here and learned how to react, adapt and in some cases do more than they ever thought possible.
“Especially if it’s a traumatic accident that happens when kids are older, you don’t realize, ‘oh I was doing it all with two legs. How am i going to do it with one?’ People just don’t really know that they should be able to do everything,” said Sara Mclaughlin, who is a physical therapist at the camp. Her son is also a camper.
“A lot of the kids out there don’t realize that there’s even adaptive sports out there,” added Damisis. “So we have a lot of older athletes come in. Adults who participate in these sports. Adaptive kayaking, rock wall climbing, running. We teach kids if they want to get a running blade, we help set them up with resources and teach them how to use that.”
For many of the campers and their families, through education and mentorship, they learn they’re not alone.
“I think for a lot of the kids they’ve never seen other kids that are missing limbs. So they’re excited to come and see other kids like themselves.”
You can find for more information on camp no limits at nolimitsfoundation.org.