“You think the only people who are people are the people who look and think like you. But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew you knew.”
The Center for Courageous Kids is a not for profit medical camping facility founded by the late Ms. Betty Turner Campbell in October of 2004 and opened for the first family weekend in February of 2008. Ms. Betty lost a beloved son following a 17-year battle with cancer. She was inspired to create a place where children living with life-threatening illnesses and their families could come free of charge and have fun, find respite, feel normal and forget about their everyday struggles. Since inception, over 25,000 medically fragile campers and their families have visited The Center for Courageous Kids from 45 different states and ten foreign countries. Her dream of building a medical camp on her Father’s 168- acre farm, in her hometown of Scottsville, KY, came true and continues to change lives of thousands of children every year.
When I first arrived at the camp a couple of years ago, I knew how special it was. Working for Quantum Rehab has allowed me to volunteer at the camp every summer, so I have established relationships with the camp faculty and staff. This makes the experience that much better. You can’t help but be happy and full of admiration when you see these incredible children who experience such intense life challenges. There are so many great opportunities for these children to experience things they might never experience otherwise, like fishing, canoeing or horseback riding. It was important for me to interact with them and show them that they can grow up to be “normal” adults.
My grandfather has taught me to always find the good in every situation, no matter how bad it may be. I carry that logic with me every day of my life. My accident was, definitely eye opening. Whenever I come across anyone who finds out about my injury, I get asked the same question. How have I been able to stay so strong, both physically and mentally throughout all of this? The thing people don’t realize is that it has never been about me, EVER. It’s ALWAYS been about the people who have believed in me and the vow I made to myself to never let them down. Being able to make a difference in people’s lives is what drives me to do what I do every day. The Center for Courageous Kids enables me to do just that! I’m so thankful to have witnessed some of the beautiful memories these children make alongside their family and friends. CCK is much more than a camp, but a place of tranquility, acceptance and just simply, a place where kids can just be kids!
About Kiel Eigen: Kiel is an employee at Quantum Rehab®. When he was 14 years old, a standard football tackle went wrong, leaving Kiel paralyzed. Despite his adversity, he has maintained a hopeful and positive outlook. Kiel travels the country, making appearances at consumer expos and events. He enjoys meeting people and delivering his message of hope and determination. Click here to learn more about Kiel.