Camp Aims to Empower Children with Limb Loss, Differences

Hudson Bradley is 4-years-old. He's from Auburn, New Hampshire and loves to play sports; but what he calls his "lucky fin" makes him do things differently.

“I was born that way as a baby," said Hudson. "It was how I was needed to be made.”

He joined dozens of other children and teens coping with limb loss at Camp No Limits, which is being hosted at Quinnipiac University for the weekend.

Campers and their parents learn how to adapt to recreational and every day activities with the help of Quinnipiac students, teen and adult amputee mentors, physical and occupational therapists and prosthetists.

“Learning to tie shoes for the first time, learning to put their hair in a ponytail, learning how to ride their bike.. learning how to run all those basic life skills maybe we take for granted,” said Mary Leighton, an occupational therapist from Maine who founded Camp No Limits with four campers in 2004. The camp has since grown to 10 locations nationwide, serving hundreds of families across the nation.

Hudson told NBC Connecticut what he's most excited about learning this weekend: how to ride a bike.

“This time I have a bicycle arm," said Hudson, who does every day skills without part of his right arm. "They’re going to teach me how to do it better with my arm so I don’t feel not comfortable pushing.”

Shawn McLaughlin, who was born without a leg below the knee, said he’s looking forward to just being himself.

“It makes me feel better because I can actually see people who are just like me and know what it feels like,” said the Natick, Massachusetts 11-year-old.

At Camp No Limits, the ultimate message for kids like Shawn and Hudson is they can do anything they set their mind to.

Camp ends on Sunday.

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