WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - At first glance, it looks like just another summer camp. But before kids have breakfast, they do something else at Camp Wheezeaway. They all line up for a check up. "Our camp is for kids with moderate to severe asthma between the ages of 8 and 12 who can't go to a regular camp," said one of the camps founders Brenda Basnight.
For many of the kids, this is the first time they've ever been able to go to camp. "It kind of makes me sad," said camper LeKirkland Davis. "When my asthma takes over my friends are out there playing, but I have to control my asthma. It makes me nervous and scared." But not here. The camp is filled with doctors and respiratory therapists. The kids start every day by testing their breathing and then taking their medicine. Once that's done, these kids get to be kids.
As long as their breathing is good, there's no limit to what they can do. The campers spend their day horseback riding, shooting guns, and jumping off huge towers into the lake. It doesn't really sound like a camp for sick kids does it?
When the week is over, these kids will leave with a lifetime worth of memories and a better understanding of how to control their disease. "Here you can actually have fun and you don't even feel like you have asthma," said camper Keldrick Adams. "When we get letters from the kids after the camp is over and they say it was great to take my medicine without anyone laughing, that makes it all worth it," said camp Dr. Margaret Jakes.
If you know a kid with asthma who might be eligible to attend next year, you can get more information on the Camp Chandler website: www.campchandler.org