Cheryl and Mike were introduced to Variety, very early on in their son Brady’s life. “He was off to Edmonton for surgery, three days after he was born.”
The family was introduced to Variety, through the Circle of Hearts Family Support Network, a support group for parents of children who have congenital heart defects or acquired heart disease. “We didn’t know about the Circle of Hearts right away, and Brady was a bit older before we got involved with Variety.”
The Circle of Hearts aims to provide emotional and educational support, such as First Aid, and provide networking among families whose children are affected by heart disease. Along with this family support, they look to put on fun family events throughout the year to show the ‘Heart Children’ there is more to Variety Children’s Heart Centre than being a cardiac patient.
Brady, now 15, is happy and healthy! He is also a veteran of Variety’s Camp Brereton, located within Whiteshell Provincial Park. Variety donates the use of Camp Brereton so that Variety Heart families and youth can fully enjoy the camp for a week. Families and young children are welcome to stay for the first weekend. Afterwards, the camp is turned over to the 11 – 17 year olds. “Some of the counselors for the Youth Camp are past campers,” says Cheryl.
There are many activities to do while at Camp Brereton such as kayaking, canoeing, hiking, fishing, bonfires, swimming, and of course a wonderful sports court! While the kids enjoy camp for all the traditional reasons, there is benefit to being around others like themselves. “They get comfortable and grow their self-confidence. You’ll see the kids sharing stories and comparing scars.”
Now that Cheryl and Mike have seen what Variety offers, and how Brady has benefited, they want to give back.
“This year we are taking on some extra responsibility, and have joined Variety’s Camp Committee. We’ve been involved with Spring Cleanup the last few years at Camp Brereton. Camp Brereton is truly a special place for the children. ” It is located at Lot 9, Block 7 at Brereton Lake in the beautiful Whiteshell Provincial Park region of Manitoba. Bordered on three sides by glimmering water, Variety’s Camp Brereton provides an opportunity for all children of all abilities to experience the great outdoors and the thrill of a great camping experience!
Submitted by Chris Mahussier
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