The childhood memories of spending weeks or months away at summer camp are, for many, some of the most cherished. Whether it was sports camp or just old-fashioned sleep-away camp, summer never seemed to come fast enough. Though for others, camp was never an option. Less than ten percent of children with serious and life-threatening illnesses (cardiology, gastroenterology, blood disorders, cancer, burns, organ transplants, ventilator dependence) have the opportunity to attend summer camp.
This is why DMUM has partnered with North Star Reach, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that allows children with complex medical issues from all over the Great Lakes Region to experience the excitement, joy and independence of summer camp, free of charge. North Star Reach opened its doors to the new 105-acre facility this fall to DMUM families and a group DMUM leadership volunteers including, Dancer Relations chair, Emilie Weisberg. Emilie along with the other DMUM volunteers had the opportunity to volunteer and witness all of the wonderful work North Star Reach does. Emilie described the environment as “a world with no disability stigma, where children feel empowered to do anything, and parents find comfort in meeting other parents with similar experiences.” Emilie continued to describe the experience explaining,
“We got to witness kids being kids despite the mental, emotional, or physical disabilities they may face. We played football, made arts and crafts, ate good food, did archery, sang songs, went fishing, had a carnival, hosted a talent show, and formed relationships with every kid!”
Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan is proud to partner with such a meaningful organization like North Star Reach. As a member of DMUM, we have been told that our work, and the work of our partner organizations, is impacting the lives of children, but as Emilie said, “After this experience, I can confidently say that they change our lives everyday.”