Donor Support Lets Hoor Ulain Feel Limitless at Easter Seals Camp
Imagine having limited mobility and growing up believing and constantly being told you can’t take part in the same fun activities as your able-bodied friends. Now imagine you discover a magical place in the middle of nature where all those limits disappear, a paradise where you can kayak across a serene lake all by yourself, explore a thrilling high ropes course, rock climb, and meet countless other kids your age who deeply relate to you and your experiences.
For Provincial Easter Seals Ontario Ambassador, Hoor Ulain, discovering and experiencing Easter Seals Camp for the first time was truly life-changing. Hoor Ulain was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was one year old and has used mobility equipment for most of her life. You might think that would prevent her from taking part in summer camp, but at Easter Seals camp, everything is possible.
These days, Hoor Ulain is one of the many campers eagerly counting down the days until she returns to Easter Seals Camp this summer. After two long years of social isolation, Hoor Ulain is thrilled to be getting back to her regular life. “I think COVID definitely impacted me and the entire family in a large way,” said Hoor Ulain. When camp had to be closed due to COVID, it was heartbreaking for Hoor Ulain. “I was devastated. I was so sad,” she said. Prior to COVID, Hoor Ulain had big plans for summer 2020. “When I came back from the camp that I attended in 2019, I told my mom I’m going back for 10 days and then it was of course cancelled for obvious reasons and so that was devastating, but I’m excited to go this summer!”
Now that camp is returning, Hoor Ulain could not be more excited. “I want every kid to go. It’s amazing! I’m so happy. I’m so happy it’s reopening.” For Hoor Ulain, being able to attend Camp Woodeden has been an eye-opening experience. “When I went and was told I could do every activity there, I was like ‘Wait what? I can do it all? It’s all accessible?’ That’s kind of new because I’m used to being told ‘That’s not accessible, you can’t do that,’” shared Hoor Ulain.
It’s important to have fully accessible camps so… there’s no limits to what a kid can do at camp and the kinds of memories that they’re able to make. And so that they don’t question why they’re disabled or wish that they weren’t disabled because there’s something they wish they could do but can’t because of the limitations of the environment.
Camp Woodeden has played an important role in not just Hoor Ulain’s life, but in the lives of her family members, who attended family camp with her in 2018. Hoor Ulain’s mom, Rahaf, shared what it was like to bond with other parents at Camp Woodeden, “speaking, sharing experiences, you know you’re not alone.”
“You’re not the only one in this world facing this type of difficulty. It’s good for the kids and the parents. It’s good to see other stories,” she said. The impact that fully accessible camps like Camp Woodeden have on the lives of kids with physical disabilities and their families is immeasurable. In Hoor Ulain’s words, “it’s important to have fully accessible camps so that no kids feel like they want to do it, but they can’t. So, there’s no limits to what a kid can do at camp and the kinds of memories that they’re able to make. And so that they don’t question why they’re disabled or wish that they weren’t disabled because there’s something they wish they could do but can’t because of the limitations of the environment.”
Rahaf shared the impact that she has seen Camp Woodeden have on her daughter’s life. “Looking at my daughter before and after the camp shows how kids gain more confidence and happiness which helps them to do better in their lives. The donor’s role in funding the camps has had a great impact on the children and youth with disabilities in the province. A great impact on their lives.”
Hoor Ulain and Rahaf are so grateful for the support of Easter Seals donors. “Thank you for being a part of the existence of Easter Seals camp,” expressed Hoor Ulain, “and thank you for being a part of spreading more smiles on little kids’ faces, making their laughs a little louder, making them feel included, and making them feel like there’s no specific boundaries on their dreams. That they can do whatever they want to do or enjoy and that their disability doesn’t get in the way of that.”
It is because of the generosity and support of Easter Seals donors that Hoor Ulain and hundreds of other children like her will be able to experience the magic of Easter Seals camp this summer once again. Thank you!