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Muscular Dystrophy Association campers enjoy pool days

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 24 2013 10:13:02 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 24 2013 11:53:42 PM EDT

For some kids, getting in the pool can be a struggle. The MDA camp helps them have some summer time fun

FRANKLIN CO., Va. -

Like many middle-school aged boys, R.J. Brown goes to camp in the summer.

Unlike many of them, he spends most of his time confined to a wheelchair.

“I have duchenne. It's a type of muscular dystrophy that as I get older it gets worser,” camper R.J. Brown said.

For the past few years, R.J. has come to the MDA camp to at least try and forget about his disease.

While he's in his wheelchair, it's hard to forget; that's why his favorite activity is the one he doesn't need a wheelchair for.

R.J. said he doesn’t need any help when he’s in the pool.

“The only thing I need help with is getting up,” R.J. said.

The camp counselors who volunteer put the kids into the pool by either physically lifting them, like R.J., or lowering them in using tools.

“[The campers], they're worried all the time, they're very, any movement on our part with them is scary for them. That lift takes them off the ground and it makes them a little nervous,” Counselor Jayson Anuszkiewicz said.

Then it's that moment that kids like R.J. Brown wait for; the freedom, the independence, the excitement.

The counselors we spoke with who put the kids in the pool say the kids are completely different once they're in the water.

“So timid and so scared, once he gets in he gets all the weight off of him, they can float they can just be a kid and really enjoy themselves and it means everything to them,” Counselor J.J. Price said.

“I feel more heavier when I get out of the pool, but when I get in the pool I feel lighter,” R.J. said.

When asked if he feels like he has his condition when he’s in the pool, R.J. simply said, “No.”

23 kids spend the week together at the Muscular Dystrophy Association camp.