'I kind of feel, maybe a little bit alone': MD Camp brings kids together
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HILLSBORO, Ore. - Kobey Bonin and his mom, Kindle, share a special bond.
Kobey has a genetic disorder that confines him to a wheelchair.
Everyday tasks are impossible without Kindle.
But there's something she can't ever do for her son.
"As much as I might know about his disability, I don't have it. So, I don't truly get it," she said.
"I guess I kind of feel, maybe a little bit alone," Kobey said.
He's about to be a senior at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. Kobey is the only person at his school in a wheelchair.
"A lot of people ask dumb questions over and over, like why are you in a wheelchair. How do you go to the bathroom? Things like that," he said.
It's not an easy path for a young man.
But along the way, Kobey does get a little help from those who do truly get it at a camp dedicated to kids just like him, all living with some form of Muscular Dystrophy.
Muscular Dystrophy causes progressive weakness and degeneration of muscles, and there's no cure. For the thousands of children suffering from the genetic disorders in the U.S., the fight is for quality of life.
May is Muscular Dystrophy awareness month and one summer camp is raising money to help kids with MD have a summer to remember.
"I feel like I can be myself," Kobey said.
Every summer, Kobey and around 100 other kids from across Oregon and Southwestern Washington, ages 6 to 17, get to spend an entire week together swimming, playing sports, doing all the things kids do at camp.
Every child gets their own volunteer counselor to keep the pace of the fun going at whatever speed they choose.
MDA Summer Camp serves between 80 and 100 kids each year. The camp is free for the children.
Muscular Dystrophy affects about one in every 3,500 to 6,000 male births in the U.S. every year according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The first step to getting a child enrolled in camp is to register him or her with MDA at their Portland office by calling (503) 223-3177. People who would like to donate to MDA should also call this number.