Faith has muscular dystrophy. She was diagnosed after having a problem with her hips as an infant. Having over 20 admissions to hospital in her first two years of life, Esther, Faith’s mom, shares how “Faith had a very rough start to life.” As Faith got older, her significant learning challenges started to surface. Socially, all of Faith’s physical and developmental challenges have deeply affected her. “She was often bullied because of her “funny” way of walking, and her poor coordination has resulted in lots of crazy falls and broken limbs,” Esther adds.
The first year Faith came to camp at Zajac Ranch, she was very hesitant. “She dislikes being away from home,” Esther adds. To her mother’s joy, Faith made lots of friends during her first year at camp. “She also had a long list of things she had independently done on her own to share with the family. I can say that the first year at camp significantly changed Faith’s life. She was infinitely more confident, and less anxious, for the first time in her life, to try new things. She acted as if she could do anything!”
After attending Zajac Ranch, Faith’s growth has been significant. She is more confident, and has actively started seeking out friendships with other girls her age. “She has verbalized to us that when she was at camp she could do everything, and nobody laughed at her,” Esther adds. “She was able to vocalize her disability for the first time and was not afraid of being judged by anyone.”
Esther tells us about her daughter Angel who was born prematurely at 27 weeks; as a result Angel has cerebral palsy. Angel has used an electric wheelchair all her life and communicates with some words and an ipad. Her Mom goes on to explain how the adaptions made for Angel at Zajac Ranch allowed her to try activities she would never usually have been able to. With these adaptations Angel got to try the high ropes out and go horseback riding and canoeing. With the staff and adaptations at Zajac Ranch Esther says that her daughters were able to experience “a lot of joy, a lot of enjoyment and definitely a sense of adventure.”
“It is so hard to trust others to provide your children with the same care that you have been providing intensively for many years, but the staff at Zajac Ranch are specially trained, very skilled, and hyper vigilant. I had no doubt that Faith (and Angel were) being watched closely, kept safe, but still allowed to experience the world in a way I could not offer,” Esther adds.