The Painted Turtle Campership Appeal

HELP Send kids to camp at The Painted Turtle WHERE kids are not defined by their illness

Remember those amazing summers at camp? Think of all the friends you made during late-night, bunk bed chit chats. The confidence you gained from conquering the ropes course, learning new land and water sports. Experiencing the thrill of adventure on your first overnight canoe trip (can you taste the s'mores and smell the bonfire?). I was lucky enough to go to camp in Wisconsin for 8 weeks from age 7-14. Every experience, the good and bad, contributed to my character and helped me become the person I am today. (I still consider myself an expert at tying knots.) I think all kids should have an opportunity to go to camp. Don’t you?

From May 14-May 31, Burn 60 will be donating a percentage of all packages purchased to The Painted Turtle Camp. The Painted Turtle has served over 53,000 children and their families through its Summer and Family Weekend camps since it opened its gates in 2004.

Our goal is to raise $5,000 to help send (5) kids with life threatening illnesses to camp this summer. So…buy your package, feel great about give back, and help send a kid to camp!

Why are we doing this?

At Burn 60, we believe every kid should have the opportunity to go to camp, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. That’s why we’ve partnered with The Painted Turtle where children with serious medical conditions celebrate just being kids! The mission of The Painted Turtle is to provide a year-round, life-changing environment and authentic camp experience for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The Painted Turtle supports children’s medical needs, inspires them to reach beyond their illnesses, and provides care, education, and respite for their families.

I am proud to be a founding member of this remarkable organization and through innovative, camp-based programs we offer a great big dose of fun and support. Children with more than 73 medical conditions visit The Painted Turtle each year, reclaiming the joys of childhood. 

For over 14 years, we have given thousands of campers the chance to sing, dance, laugh and grow in a safe camp environment, built for their needs. Without the Painted Turtle, many of these children would never experience the wonderful memories and life-long impact of summer camp.

There is no billing department at The Painted Turtle — campers and their families attend free of charge. And there’s no limit to the amount of laughter campers take home with them either!

Last week I have the privilege of meeting Rhiannon Carter. She is 14 years old. She has severe arthritis. Yep, Arthritis! It is not just a disease that afflicts older people. Rhiannon's family learned that she had arthritis when she was 2 years old. When she is feeling good, you can hardly tell that she has a chronic, debilitating disease. Other days, she can barely move or is confined to her wheelchair. Please take a minute to read her story below.

Direct donations welcome: I want to help a camper go to The Painted Turtle this summer .

Thank you,

Janet Crown - CEO/Founder @ Burn 60 Studios

Check out The Painted Turtle:

 

A letter from Rhiannon:

Hi, my name is Rhiannon Carter and I am 14 years old.  When I was almost 2 years old, my big sister, Bridget, had her 4th birthday party. It was great. There was a piñata and cake and a jumpy castle in the back yard. I spent most of the day in the castle, jumping around and playing and having so much fun. However, the next day, my knees were very swollen, my dad said they looked like grapefruits. My mom & dad took me to the doctor who could not find anything wrong. They thought my grapefruit knees were from jumping so much and it would go away, but it didn’t. 

We went to doctor after doctor. We saw eight doctors in 4 months, no one knew what was wrong with me. Finally, my family doctor said we should try a pediatric rheumatologist. He recommended an awesome doctor who took one look at me and said “Yep. She has arthritis.” My parents didn’t know anything about kids getting arthritis, but they learned quickly. 

Since then, I’ve been on all kinds of pills and shots and joint injections and stuff like that. I’ve even taken Methotrexate, which is a form of chemotherapy. I take 49 pills a week. Some of them taste awful and make me really sick. When I was 5, I started taking shots too. I was scared about the shots but I got used to the needles. Some of the shots really, really hurt and I get bruises from them. I squeeze my mom’s hand really hard when my shots hurt and I’m afraid I

might break her fingers. I also spent 3 years getting infusions every month I didn’t like having an IV for hours at a time when I should have been at school.

I also have to go get my blood drawn often. I hate that part. When I was 8, I decided I was not going to cry during my blood draws anymore. It isn’t easy because sometimes they have to poke me several times to find a good vein and I have even fainted. But, I try to be strong. Sometimes I feel better and sometimes my joints hurt a lot and I can’t walk and I have to use my wheelchair.

It’s been really hard for my parents and my sister to see me hurting. I remember before I was diagnosed, I couldn’t walk and went back to crawling. My dad says that was one of the hardest parts for him. My mom says that the hardest part is for her to watch when I have to get really painful treatments. My sister says the hardest part is when she sees me at school, not playing at recess, or sitting on the bench during P.E.

For me, the worst part was I did not know any kids like me. When I was 7 years old, I asked my Mom and Dad if I could meet other kids with arthritis. I had never met any kids who understood my disease, so I felt kind of alone. My parents and sister are great and supportive, but I wanted to be able to talk to someone else about what it’s like to be a kid with arthritis. When I was 9, I went to The Painted Turtle for the first time. 

It.

Was.

AWESOME!

I got to meet so many kids who were just like me! I made so many new friends and I got to do lots of fun things. I went horseback riding and swimming and did arts and crafts and sang songs and all kinds of stuff! My cabin mates and I bonded so much and we are all still friends.

There were people there who took care of me and made sure I had my medicines and everything like that. I felt safe and my parents didn’t have to worry about my arthritis at all since there was 24-hour nurse care at the camp. They knew I was in good hands. I can’t wait to come back. It was the best time ever! 

I still have to use a wheelchair sometimes.  I still have to get my blood drawn a lot and get shots each week and take lots of medicines.

But, I always think about how I get to go to The Painted Turtle. Some of my friends at school are jealous. Can you believe that? Jealous of me! Because I get to go to the best camp ever. In a way, I’m kind of lucky that I have arthritis. I have met some of the most amazing and strongest people in the whole wide world. 

After going to camp at The Painted Turtle, I believed that even with arthritis, I could do great things. 

Thank you so much for helping kids like me to believe they can do great things.