Camp Courage – Here I come.
How special do you feel when you get invited to a birthday party, wedding, dinner guest, or a reunion?
We all love to be invited. I am looking forward to a 60th reunion on Sunday, October 11, 2015. It will be at a memorable place from my long ago past. It will be the 60th Anniversary of Camp Courage, Maple Lake, Minnesota. From 1955 to the present Camp Courage has been changing the lives of children and adults who have had opportunities available to them only by attending a camp stay at Camp Courage. Lives have been changes in dramatic ways. Mine was one of them.
My first time attending Camp Courage was probably in about 1958. I am not sure exactly and my parents are no longer here to ask. The age of 10 seems accurate. I do remember how excited I was and nervous at the same time. Being gone from home for two weeks is a long time for a 10 year old. I absolutely do not remember being home sick. From that first summer, and for many following, I would look forward to renewing old friendships and enjoying myself doing all the things that everyone else was doing. My camping stay would be woven into my summer schedule around a surgery to help me walk better. I have revisited Camp Courage several times. Most recently when I was working on my memoir. It has changed with new cabins and updated facilities but what they do is exactly the same as when I was there.
On October 1, 1948 I was diagnosed with poliomyelitis at the young age of seven months old. There was no vaccine to protect me or thousands of other children and adults. The vaccine was not available until 1953. By then my siblings would be protected and thousands of other children and adults.
As we approach Friday, October 23, 2015, World Polio Day it is important to know that there are two countries that still have cases of Polio. When I wrote my book, All the Steps I Have Taken, there were four countries with cases of polio. India was declared polio free in 2012 with no new cases of polio. They celebrated in 2013. Now Nigeria has had no cases in 2015 and they will be able to celebrate Polio Free in 2016. In 2014 there were fewer than 360 cases of Polio in the world. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries that Rotary International and Bill and Melinda Gates are still work to End Polio Now. Rotary has been working since 1985 in the Polio plus Campaign and I will be so happy to see that Polio will be eradicated in my life time.
The picture second from the left shows two small boys will braces and crutches. I learned to walk with crutches and braces just like those at the age of two. I have my crutches and show them when I speak to local schools and church.
So reunion here I come. In Minnesota fall leaves are changing to golden yellow, fire red, and tangerine orange. The prettiest time of the year to take a drive. I will enjoy watching the harvest along the way and I will definitely enjoy seeing people that I may have spent time years ago.