"I think giving to a place that nourishes children and lets them talk about their loss and helps them understand they are not alone is really special."
I remember the last day I spent with my dad like it was yesterday.
It was September 4, 2014: my dad’s birthday. Mom, Dad and I went out to dinner. I remember thinking it was such a great night. We came home, my parents read me a bedtime story, I said my prayers and went to sleep.
The next morning, he was gone. He died during the night from a massive heart attack. I was only seven years old.
I was at a new school, and I felt so alone. No one knew my story. If I got sad, I had no one I could talk to. I would just take a walk outside, alone. Later that year, my mom signed me up for Camp BraveHeart. The first day of camp opened my eyes that I was not alone. There were people who understood what I was going through.
At first, I thought Camp BraveHeart would be just a bunch of random kids talking about their grief. But the counselors put us into small groups, where we had an opportunity to talk and share if we wanted to. There were so many counselors who were ready to talk at any time, or to just sit quietly with us.
I felt like there was someone there for everyone to connect with. And there are so many things at Camp BraveHeart that you get to share with your family. It felt so good that summer to be with my mom during the closing ceremony butterfly release – it was a special moment for sure.
Now, my mom and I plan our summer trips and my summer job around Camp BraveHeart. I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I have made so many great friends. The campers and counselors are amazing. I love the art projects! I’ve saved every single one. Last summer we made blankets that we decorated with designs, words and pictures that made us feel connected to our loved one. I literally never take that off my bed.
I turned 16 this year and went back to Camp BraveHeart as a junior counselor. I was so excited to be there for other kids like so many people were there for me. I think that this summer’s campers saw me as someone they could talk to, someone they could open up to about anything. Together, we understand that nothing is ever going to replace what we’ve lost, but there are ways to heal from it.
I’m sure you get asked for donations to support a lot of important causes. But as someone who has been to Camp BraveHeart for seven summers, I think giving to a place that is nourishing children, a camp that makes them feel accepted, lets them talk about their loss and helps them understand they are not alone is really special.
Your donation today makes Camp BraveHeart, and all HopeHealth’s programs, possible for people just like me, every day.
I’m really glad I had this chance to tell you my story – and to say thank you.
2023 Camp BraveHeart Junior Counselor
HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative
Tax Identification Number: 05-0192422
Prefer to mail your donation? Send it to:
1085 North Main Street
Providence, RI 02904
HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative Care is a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit hospice, your donation is tax deductible as permitted by law.
Questions? Please call (401) 415-4206.