by Tracey J., parent of 2 Double H campers
It was about this time of year nearly 6 years ago that I drove my boys, Christopher “Chris” and Christian “CJ”, up to Lake Luzerne for their first week of camp at Double H Ranch. It would be the first of many 10-hour road trips. I expected tears, hugs, and long goodbyes, but I was pleasantly surprised. We pulled up at camp and they were immediately greeted by pleasant, excited staff singing in the parking lot. Quickly, the boys’ anxiety turned to excitement. They grabbed their luggage, met their counselors, and headed towards their cabins. Suddenly, as if they remembered I was standing there, they turned back. I received 2 quick hugs and kisses and a yell of “Bye, mom!” as they went running off. I think I was more upset than they were. They weren’t crying, or sad, or nervous. It was like they were home. And from that first day at camp, I knew Double H was a special place. Now, 6 years later, it hasn’t lost any of the magic. Now 16, Chris and CJ will be phasing out of camp this year, but that will not change any of the experiences they’ve had, the relationships they have made, or the lessons they have learned. Nor will it change all the wonder that Double H holds for families like ours.
Double H has been an amazing part of our lives. Their mission speaks volumes about their character. At Double H, they strive to provide a safe camp environment for children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. Everything is free of charge and free of worry for parents. Because Chris and CJ are living with sickle cell disease, they have certain medical requirements that make ordinary overnight camp out of the question. They have to swim in heated pools and need to take medication daily. They have to stay hydrated and need access to trained medical staff who are prepared to handle any complication that may arise. Double H provides all of that for my sons and other children like them.
Double H Ranch gives my sons a physical opportunity to experience camp. But, it also does so much more than others may realize. At Double H, Chris and CJ say they are “free to be me.” They have an opportunity to meet other children and build relationships. They don’t have to explain their conditions or their medications. There’s no probing questions or special treatment because of what they have. They get to just be “normal” in a wonderfully loving environment. At Double H, everyone understands you.
From a parent’s perspective, Double H is home away from home. It is a safety net where I can send my sons to realize their greatest potential. They may have sickle cell disease, but Double H will not let sickle cell disease define who they are and who they become. At Double H, all dreams are possible! If you can dream it, then you can become it.
Double H is an amazing place full of unbelievably selfless people. I could never thank the staff enough for all of the experiences, love, and memories they have given us. They are truly a blessing for the children they serve. Double H gives kids the opportunity to be themselves and live a full life. For my kids, it has provided a safe environment for them to experience camp, make new friends, and become unique, confident individuals. Double H is a place where our normal is just that: “normal.” And for that, I am forever grateful.
Palio is participating in @SocialMadness and has chosen Double H Ranch as the not-for-profit they will donate the winnings to if Palio is 1 of the 3 national champions. Social Madness, launched by The Business Review and parent company American City Business Journals, measures the growth of each participating company’s presence across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here’s how you can help Palio help Double H Ranch. Like Palio’s Facebook page; follow them on Twitter @paliosaratoga; and connect with their corporate page on LinkedIn. And, if you already do all of the above, vote for Palio in the medium companies category at SocialMadness.com.
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.