A Parent’s Hopes and Dreams
As new parents, you romanticize and fawn over those “first moments” – the first hold, the first kiss, the first words to their first steps. Parents Kurt and Ellen had spent nine months dreaming about Camper Hannah’s “Book of Firsts,” but little did they know their beautiful baby girl had a few other firsts to add.
Hannah was born with cerebral palsy and a right arm brachial plexus injury. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect coordination and muscle movement, and presents problems with tremors, sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, gross motor movement, and speaking. After years of ongoing, weekly physical and occupational therapy sessions, a confident 8-year old Hannah announced one day that she “was going to walk forever!”, shares Kurt.
Her parents recall when, in 4th grade, Hannah had a tendon lengthening and foot reconstructive surgery. The complex procedure was to help with walking, and guess what? It worked! Hannah has not stopped walking, and she continues to motivate and inspire herself. She now conquers fun runs, half marathons, family outings, and exciting camp adventures.
A Camp for You
It was during one of her visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital that her family learned about Stanley Stamm Camp, Hannah’s first introduction to a camp designed for her. “When we picked her up from Stamm Camp, we were told that kids who go to Stamm Camp also qualify for Camp Korey,” recalls Kurt.
As a 2nd grader, Hannah confidently announced to her family one night that she was going to walk forever. “We all thought she’d get tired and turn around at the gate, but lo and behold she walked 1.5 miles in the dark that night!” Needing a safer place to walk, the family found the Centennial Trail, and mile by mile, Hannah hiked the entire 30-mile trail when she was in 2nd and 3rd grade. “She is full of determination!” shares Kurt. Adding to their book of firsts, when Hannah’s family first drove up to visit Camp Korey for the Fall Festival, they stopped just down the road at Nakashima Barn – the end of the Centennial Trail. Every time Hannah comes to Camp, she passes this landmark of her own joy and accomplishment.
Camp Korey motivates Hannah, allowing her to explore, create new adventures, and enjoy a sense of independence. Independence is very important to Hannah, and she is proud to be limitless, courageous, and free!
Magic is in the air at Camp Korey. Hannah loves “Silly Olympics” and “sneaking out” after lights are out to have a secret party when everyone else is asleep. These moments—the simple joys of childhood–are found at Camp Korey.
“Camp Korey is absolutely amazing in what they have done for Hannah. Having a place like that, staffed with professionals, is truly a gift for a kid like Hannah to enjoy. She, like all the campers, understandably is disappointed that plans were forced to change for COVID, but they have the magic to hold onto until they return in person,” says Kurt.
Beyond Camp’s Gate
Wherever Hannah goes, Camp Korey is always with her. She has joined Camp Korey for STG Presents “The Lion King” and “Frozen” at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. For Hannah and so many of her fellow campers’ music is more than an expression of art–it is therapy. The Arts fill Hannah with life and energy, motivating and inspiring her. Hannah’s experience is one reminder of the year-round impact that Camp and this community have on children with serious medical conditions. Whether on or off stage, Hannah sings boldly as the lead singer of her own band, writing the lyrics to her life story while her fans cheer her on every step of the way!
Hannah and her parents send their best wishes to Camp Korey and all the wonderful staff that make this a magical place to be for kids like Hannah!