Over The Wall provides free of charge therapeutic recreation camps to help children with life-limiting illnesses and their families, reach beyond the perceived limitations of illness to rediscover a whole new world of possibilities.
The Foundation has supported Over The Wall since 2009 with grants totalling over £13,500. Most recently we supported the provision of fully accessible, therapeutic recreation activities and facilities at four camps for children with serious, life-limiting illnesses and disabilities.
Alex has a rare genetic neurological disorder called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), which impacts his mobility and motor skills. Unable to walk unaided, Alex, now 12, requires either a walking frame or wheelchair, but this doesn’t get in the way of what he wants to do – which is why Over The Wall camp has become so important to him.
“Camp reiterates to Alex that he can do all the things he wants to do, as well as try new challenges”, explains Alex’s mum, Sam Medley. “The beauty of camp is that the children aren’t defined by their health challenges, they simply see each other as friends and people they can have fun with. There are no health-related labels, and that is so important.”
Prior to his Over The Wall experience, Alex had struggled at school. He was lacking confidence and hadn’t made many friends, which had begun to worry Sam. He was also about to make the transition from attending a village school of 60 pupils to a larger primary school with over 400, which was another cause for concern.
“Then, after Alex first attended camp in the summer, everything changed.” said Sam. “He started his new school, was confident, had higher self-esteem and made new friends. The difference in him was amazing. I honestly think that Over The Wall camp really helped him to make this transition and to develop his confidence.”
Alex has a titanium pump implanted into his abdomen that drip feeds medication onto his spinal cord. An under/overdose of this medication could cause huge complications that could even result in fatality, therefore absolute assurance that Alex was in capable hands was critical.
“When I met the clinical volunteers and I saw the medical environment that Over The Wall were providing, I immediately felt fine. After talking to the staff and seeing the work and preparation they had put in, I felt confident.
“From being met at the gates to saying goodbye at the end of the week, the quality and dedication of all the volunteers shone through. The volunteers made the week the best they possibly could for every young person at camp.”
Before his second camp experience Alex had surgery on his legs and had to recover from this before attending. The target of making full recovery before camp acted as inspiration and motivation for him to be well and mobile enough to attend.
“As a parent it is a wonderful feeling when the children bring home the feedback from camp that demonstrates their achievements.” says Sam. “The volunteers really bolster their confidence – and reading all of this really boosts you as a parent, as you think…we really are doing alright!”