The Best Week of Emmy’s Life

Natalie breathed a sigh of relief when she saw her six-year-old daughter Emmy dancing with another young camper on the first day of Variety’s Adventure Camp this month. “This is going to be a good day,” she thought. “You’re good, Emmy. You have found your people!”

One would never guess this was Emmy’s first year at Adventure Camp. She jumped headlong into every activity with her signature spunk and energy, making friends with everyone she met — kids and counselors alike.

This is a huge step for Emmy who spent 200 days in the hospital in the first 10 months of her life. Emmy was born with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism that quickly produced many challenges, including a need for multiple surgeries, a feeding tube and constant medical attention. Natalie was quick to notice that Emmy missed out on the first full year of her developmental life as a kid.

Now, Emmy is making up for all the hospital time in abundance!

Last week, Emmy enjoyed summer camp activities like any kid her age — diving into a swimming pool, slurping shaved ice on a hot day, and riding the ferris wheel at the St. Louis Aquarium. After each day at camp, Emmy shared her experiences, crafts, and stories with family and friends. She had a lot to talk about!

What started off as a good day turned into what her mother said was, “the best week of Emmy’s life.”

While Emmy needs a trach to breathe and medical equipment to move around with ease, she is not fazed by the need of extra “accessories” to access the world around her. That is one thing that made Adventure Camp different than all the other activities Emmy enjoys throughout the year. Natalie shared, “I felt very safe sending her to Adventure Camp, knowing that Variety is equipped to handle kids with a wide range of varying disabilities. Yet at the same time, I knew she wouldn’t be treated as a kid with disabilities. Just as a normal kid.”

Emmy just got to be “just a kid” for one whole week. And she can’t wait to come back and do it again!

Every day, Emmy is growing in confidence to better engage with the world around her. Variety’s Adventure Camp builds and shapes self-esteem with real world adventures and life skills. Natalie thinks that with such opportunities available to her daughter, “the sky’s the limit for Emmy’s future.”

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