In a lead-up to “Miracle Week” on campus Oct. 23-27, the Erskine College student chapter of “For the Kids” (FTK) welcomed two guests at a convocation Oct. 19 to speak about the charitable cause supported by FTK— the work of the Greenville Children’s Hospital, part of the Greenville Health System and of the Children’s Miracle Network.
Anita Brewer of Greenwood, S.C., spoke about the joys and challenges of bringing up her daughter Grace, who has Down’s Syndrome, and about help she has received from the Greenville Children’s Hospital. She joked good-naturedly about some of the practical problems she has faced as a parent, including trying to get an 11-year-old who has the strength of an adult to wear a CPAP mask prescribed for sleep apnea. Brewer was at her wits’ end—“You try to get her to wear it,” she said in an aside—but with help from the children’s hospital, her daughter’s sensitivity to the mask was discovered, and expert staff members are working with Grace to overcome the problem.
Erika Turner, a child life specialist with the Greenville Children’s Hospital, spoke about the hospital and described one of its outreach programs, Camp Courage, which offers a session for young children as well as one for teens, at no cost to the children or their families.
FTK co-directors Halley Hamm, a junior biology major, and Austin Hough, a junior political science major, conducted the convocation and introduced the speakers. Hamm has served as a counselor at Camp Courage, and later talked about that work.
“Camp Courage was an eye-opening experience for me,” Hamm said. “It allowed me to meet and interact with kids who are so resilient. They have walked through life in this ‘treatment bubble,’ but for one week they know that camp is a place where that bubble is not needed. It’s a place where the kids can be normal, they’re accepted, and they get to make memories.”
Hamm said her involvement with Camp Courage gave her “the opportunity to make unforgettable friendships with so many individuals, many of whom I am sure have more courage than I do!”
FTK is a nationwide movement involving college and high school students at more than 150 schools across the country who raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in their communities through Dance Marathon.
During Erskine’s “Miracle Week,” beginning Monday, Oct. 23, FTK will offer a slate of activities on campus culminating in Dance Marathon, a six-hour event in which students stay on their feet and “dance for those who can’t,” in the words of the first Dance Marathon’s mission statement. Dance Marathon includes games and other entertainment in addition to dance.
Here is the schedule for Miracle Week at Erskine: