Thank you to Northwestern Mutual for sponsoring this post.
When my nephew was born, my brother and sister-in-law planned on bringing home a healthy baby boy. The day they planned to bring their newborn baby boy home was the day they learned their son had a serious heart condition. Nobody ever expects this to happen to their child, but too often, children and parents are faced with a terrible diagnosis.
They airlifted my nephew to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas where he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and flown to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. My brother and sister-in-law had to move to Houston for a little over six months so their son could receive the best care possible. At only three days old, he would receive his first open heart surgery, followed by another at three months and yet another at nine months.
After the surgeries came lifelong follow-up care to monitor his heart health, medications, and everything my brother and sister-in-law did daily to ensure their son was has as healthy as possible. Man, my brother and sister-in-law didn’t skip a beat, they handled the situation the best they could. They never complained about being far from home or without family and friends. They stayed strong and focused on the health of their baby boy. From the time Corbin was little, they did everything to make sure he had best childhood possible but I also remember he was limited in what he was able to do because of his condition. He missed a lot because he was in the hospital and in many ways was forced to grow up way too early.
Man, I miss his little smile, his laugh, listening to him talk about racing and the way he used to watch out for my youngest daughter. He was such a special boy; We were blessed with seven short but wonderful years with him. There isn’t a day that goes by we don’t miss him or think about all the wonderful memories he blessed us with.
Looking back, in many ways Corbin was forced to grow up faster than most children because of his condition. Which is why I love that The Northwestern Mutual Foundation has partnered with the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation and the Rose Bowl Stadium in bringing children and families affected by cancer an opportunity to experience one of the best joys of childhood: camping. The inaugural Rose Buds Campout on the Field, which took place last weekend June 6 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, aims to provide kids and families affected by this disease nationwide with an invaluable camping experience that will bring a sense of community, camaraderie and hope to those who need it most.
Events like the Rose Buds Campout on the Field are important and provide families with an amazing experience and memories for years to come. Here are two quotes from the event I wanted to share so we can have a better understanding of just what these events are about and the impact they have on the families.
“Many of these kids never had an opportunity to be just that–kids. Bringing them together at a camp like this lets them forget all that.”
-Eric Christopherson, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation.
“When you get cancer, you kind of have to grow up fast. You can’t really be a kid when you’re that grown up. Camp gave me this new normal where I knew I was okay and had others like me so that gave me some reassurance and the confidence to travel through the rest of my journey.
-Bennett Unger, 14, of Wauwatosa Wisconsin
The Rose Buds Campout on the Field is an awesome, one of a kind event which gave 200 kids and their parents (total) the amazing opportunity to spend the night under the stars in the one and only famed Rose Bowl Stadium field. I’m sure most of you already know that Rose Bowl Stadium is the proud home of the Tournament of Roses Football Game, UCLA Bruin Football, AmericaFest Fourth of July celebrations, concerts, special events and more. It’s a national historic landmark build in 1922, also known as “America’s Stadium”.
Everyone received a “campout kit” when they arrived at the Stadium which included an exclusive Rose Buds camping tent. They also had the opportunity to take part in fun activities like arts and crafts, tours of a police truck and a fire truck, games on the field, musical performance, movies showing on a video board, dinner and s’more’s.
The Northwestern Mutual Foundation is also creating an indoor camping experience in select hospitals nationwide. The kits for these events will be delivered to the pediatric cancer units to help bring a camp-like experience to children and families undergoing treatment.
Vote & Help Trigger Grant & Indoor Camp Experience Donations to More Hospitals Nationwide.
Join us and join in the fun by heading to http://nmcampvote.com to vote for the place you’d like to camp at the most! For every 25,000 votes made from July 6th to July 23rd, Northwestern Mutual will give a grant for an indoor camp experience to a pediatric cancer unit so they can provide these amazing camp-like activities to their patients.
A Little About Northwestern Mutual
Being the presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl, Northwestern Mutual has used its participation in the Rose Parade to raise awareness about childhood cancer.
The Northwestern Mutual Foundation wants to help families who are impacted by childhood cancer share moments of happiness and strengthen their sense of togetherness so they are able to create more happy memories. Northwestern Mutual launched its Childhood Cancer Program in 2012 to help find cures, provide family support d patients with support and aid those struggling with long-term effects of treatment. This program has contributed over $17 million, thanks to the help of their wonderful employees and financial advisors nationwide, and have funded over 200,000 hours of research.
Without a doubt, children and families who are faced with childhood cancer need the opportunities to restore their sense of childhood that is all too often lost during treatment and recovery. Camp is a great experience for children, but especially those who are fighting cancer. Camps for children with cancer and other chronic illnesses provide hope, camaraderie, and community to those who need it the most.
Do not forget to vote & help create more of these amazing camping experiences atwww.nmcampvote.com.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Learn more at northwesternmutual.com