Emma Alonso thought she was the only child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was diagnosed at 4 years old. With the help of Miami Children’s Hospital and Camp Funrise, the now 9-year-old Emma sees that she has a shared experience with other children.
“I thought I was the only kid who had it but I came here and I was wrong,” Emma said.
Camp Funrise is one of many specialty camps that Miami Children’s Hospital runs during the year. This free camp allows children diagnosed with the same disease to enjoy activities with constant supervision from medical professionals.
Camp Funrise specializes in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic illness that causes pain and swelling in the joints. This illness often leaves the children tired and sore after a flare up. The camp promotes independence and allows children with special needs to attend summer camp, something they may not have been able to do.
This year, campers got to experience a fun power yoga class, taught by Child Life specialist, Krista Caballero, as one of the many activities they participated in during the week-long camp. This class showed the children ways to relax through breathing and posing. Yoga can help them when they experience pain due to their illness.
“I’ve had kids come up to me after I have shown them the breathing exercises and poses specifically tailored to their needs and say that their pain is basically gone,” Caballero said. Yoga fosters a relaxing and peaceful exercise by breathing in and out of the nose while stretching core muscles.
”Let’s say I go on my scooter, I get so tired I have to rest for a while,” Emma said. The impact of the illness varies from child to child, but each child has a place a Miami Children’s Hospital, something that Camp Funrise shows them throughout the week.
“I tell myself I can do it, nothing is going to stop me,” Emma said as she finished up the yoga class. Camp Funrise helps kids like Emma share their stories and encourage them to move forward. She looks forward to many more summers at Camp Funrise. To learn more about this camp and many other specialty camps Miami Children’s offers visit mch.com.
About Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children's Hospital is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with nearly 800 attending physicians and more than 475 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children's Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession's most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.