A pledge of $600 to the Labor Day MDA Telethon will send a special needs child to camp. The campers have the time of their lives.
South Spencer eighth grader Johnny has one of the metabolic diseases of the muscle. In his case, the mitochondria of his cells, which are like small energy factories which shut down and lead to muscle weakness.
It's not something you would notice in him right away. He's just like any other boy. And at MDA summer camp, that's how he feels.
Johnny is currently learning carpentry - a hobby he has more time to do now that he can't play sports. Any time he exerts himself at all, he ends up really sore.
"Well, I'm just sort of worn out, and I don't want to do anything," he explains.
Johnny was healthy most of life, except his parents noticed he had a slight limp. It took several doctors and hospitals, but finally the diagnosis came last year. They diagnosed him with mitochondrial myopathy. It's what killed 2002 MDA Goodwill Ambassador Matty Stepanek at age 13. But lucky for Johnny, he doesn't have the same type. At least doctors don't think so.
Lisa, Johnny's mom, says, "The test results have come back so unusual for him; the doctors keep telling us, 'Well, gosh, this is really unusual. We need to run more tests. We need to run more biopsies. We need to send you here and send you there. We've never seen this.' And so there aren't any concrete answers for Johnny."
Until they know more, Johnny has strict instructions not to overdo it physically. So instead of football, he's been golfing with grandpa and woodworking with dad. He even made a table which won several awards, including a merit ribbon at the state fair! It was one highlight of this summer that also included a trip to MDA camp.
Johnny admits, "Well, I was a little bit nervous because I thought it would be a little boring because most of the kids were in wheelchairs."
But he ended up finding lots of friends and doing things he could do like cabin raids, horseback riding and sliding around in the mud!
"It got pretty fun except for some days we didn't get very good food," he says.
But if the food was always good, then it wouldn't be summer camp!