Dear Families, Friends and Supporters,
This is an extra special post! One of the extraordinary gifts of camp is the chance for our team to share in the magic of camp with children who we have known throughout their medical journeys. Organ donation is a life saving experience that utterly transforms the lives of children and families. At camp we are able to see this gift in action every day - our campers truly exemplify the stunning reality of organ donation. There is no more compelling case for how organ transplantation works than seeing so many kids of all ages - recipients of hearts, kidneys, livers, lungs and bowels enjoying themselves at camp; from singing around the campfire, to running, kayaking, competing, climbing ropes, inventing new games, cheering, laughing, searching for frogs, picking berries off the trees or immersing in the cool lake at camp. We also have the amazing experience of watching our campers grow up over the years. It is in this spirit that we wanted to highlight a very special person named Suzy.
Suzy received a heart transplant at 6 month of age at the Hospital for Sick Children. Over the years she has been followed by the team at SickKids and when Camp Kivita first started, Suzy was in the first group of campers to attend. Suzy has always been an active, spirited and much loved camper at Camp Kivita. Her energy, enthusiasm and gentle kindness always shine through and from year to year we have observed as Suzy has grown into the most wonderful, kind and compassionate young adult. As a leader in training she demonstrated a natural ability to connect with her peers and a deeply caring and nurturing instinct, especially around our younger campers who adored her. She has always harbored a passion to become a nurse and when Suzy applied to study Nursing we could not have been more proud and excited. Most amazingly, she came back to camp kivita in 2019 as a nurse trainee, and this summer 2022 - we are beyond excited and grateful that she is back as one of our STAFF NURSES!!!!!!!!!! Suzy is truly a shining star.
Below left is Suzy at age 11 - Camp Kivita camper; and on the right is Suzy, Camp Nurse summer 2022 age 24!!
Our hearts are full of gratitude, pride and wonder and we wanted you all to know what an outstanding person Suzy is. From volunteering her time at camp, to mentoring and connecting with campers and others on their medical journeys and just being a kind, fun and beautiful individual who emanates warmth and happiness. Suzy exemplifies each day the beauty, wonder and life changing impact of organ donation. We hope that sharing her story inspires you as much as we are inspired each day by Suzy.
Yours in camping,
Stacey, Emily and Christina
On behalf of the camp team