For a few days each summer, Guy and Linda are provided with a feeling most parents take for granted on a regular basis. They get to feel like their kids are normal.
“For me, as a parent, we can come here and we can breathe because we’re not waiting for the next person to say something not nice,” said Linda Reid, who lives with her husband in Cheshire with their three children who all live with limb difference.
“When they go to school they’re hiding their hands or hiding their legs or they have questions coming in all the time, like ‘what happened to your hand?’”
Camp No Limits at Quinnipiac University provides a break from the stares and looks of day-to-day life. The camp, which is part of a national network of 10 No Limits programs taking place, is the only one held on a college campus.
The staff members are all volunteers, students in the university’s physical therapy and occupational therapy programs. Those students help the campers find confidence, like urging them to ride a bike or even run for the first time since they lost a limb.
“A lot of the time they may be a little hesitant,” said Caila Frassetto, a Quinnipiac student. “They may be like, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never tried a running blade before. I just got my prosthetic leg a year ago I wasn’t sure if I could bike again,’ just kind of easing them into it.”
For the kids, they don’t have to worry about classmates asking uncomfortable questions.
Nine year old Emily Reid, who has both arm and leg limb differences, said when she’s at school, “I feel like I’m different, but like I don’t belong.”
But when she’s at camp, Emily says, “I like that you just get to spend time with everybody like you and that like you’re just like you don’t feel left out and you feel different.”
For Emily’s parents, Guy and Linda, they say that’s exactly what they hoped for when they dropped their kids off for camp.
“Here, they get to see a bunch of other kids who are like them, so it helps out. It makes them feel better,” Guy said.