Nova Scotia

Camp for kids with chronic illnesses opens

On Friday, Brigadoon Village, a camp for children with chronic diseases wrapped up its first week of operation in Aylesford, Nova Scotia.

Brigadoon Village, a camp for children with chronic diseases, wrapped up its first week of operation in Aylesford, Nova Scotia on Friday.

Camp Guts and Glory is a weeklong camp specifically for children with Crohn's or colitis, diseases that cause inflamed bowels.

"It's just a disease in your bowels, sometimes your stomach can really hurt when you're having a flare-up, even when you're not using the bathroom," said camper Melissa Pierce.

Some children have never been to summer camp before.

"Children with inflammatory bowel disease, because of the nature of that illness, may not feel comfortable going to a regular camp," said Dr. Tony Otley, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the IWK Health Centre, one of the camp's organizers. "They may not have access to bathrooms, just other worries that other kids who don't have a chronic illness wouldn't have to think of."


"This was pretty much life-changing. Seriously," said another camper Miranda Sampson.

"Because you get to meet a whole bunch of different kids that have the same thing as you, and it's a good thing to know, because you get to talk to them about what they have and what they do about it to help about it."

Fundraising to build Brigadoon Village began in May 2008.

Its cabins on Aylesford Lake are built for the needs of children with chronic diseases.

There are two nurses on site and food allergies and gluten intolerances are taken into account.

"The last three days, the nurse had to chase her down to give her the medications because she was too busy having fun and not worrying about medications," said Otley about one camper. "That's what this is all about."

A drug company donated $50,000 to send these children to camp. Organizers say next year they'll fundraise to put the camp on again.

In the meantime, Brigadoon will remain open for other children with chronic illnesses.