Making Memories and Living Life as a Kid at Camp

Ryleigh had a camp experience unlike any summer camp a couple of years ago. And for a teen battling pulmonary illness, it was an opportunity to overcome fears and achieve hopes to help this child enjoy the experience.

There’s nothing quite like summer camp. A place to experience freedom, learn valuable skills and form new friendships that last a lifetime. Flying Horse Farms offers the many amenities you’ve come to expect at camp: arts and crafts, canoeing, archery, ropes course and much more. But unlike other summer camps, this has become a magical destination bringing children with serious illnesses together to do what they do best: be kids.

“Ryleigh absolutely loves camp and while it’s only a weeklong camp, the friendships she’s gained during that time is extraordinary,” says Ryleigh’s mother. “We couldn’t be more grateful and appreciative of the work done by The Hope Foundation and their generosity to make this dream a reality for our daughter.”

Spread across 200-plus acres of beauty and untouched wilderness in Central Ohio, Flying Horse Farms had been conceptualized by actor, philanthropist and Cleveland, Ohio native, Paul Newman. He envisioned children battling terminally ill conditions or chronic diseases the freedom to escape those fears and live in the present moment as a kid through life-changing experiences. These opportunities would be made possible through independently managed and financed summer camps and programs. Hence, Flying Horse Farms was conceived and opened for campers living with a range of illnesses and their families in 2010.

Located near Mount Gilead, Ohio, Flying Horse Farms is truly one-of-a-kind summer camp, featuring enrichment programs and activities while providing state-of-the-art care and treatment for kids. One of those campers is Ryleigh, a Mahoning Valley native suffering a pulmonary illness. Thanks to a grant from The Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, she had the opportunity to go to Flying Horse Farms free of cost.

For more than 12 years, The Hope Foundation has coordinated the efforts of volunteers, funding opportunities, sponsorship partners and a dedicated board of trustees to raising tens of thousands of dollars to help area children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families. Through financial assistance and grants, kids like Ryleigh get to experience amazing moments of providing joy and hope that otherwise would be difficult to achieve without the support of The Hope Foundation.

In this instance, The Hope Foundation gave Ryleigh the chance to make new friends and experience camp life through fishing, swimming, high ropes and much more at Flying Horse Farms. For her family, they felt at ease knowing their daughter was in good hands and taken care of by a team of doctors and nurses. In fact, there was even a cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic available on call at the camp to visit with children.

The experience was an inspirational moment for Ryleigh. Through the camp, she identified her inner strength and overcame fears and became a stronger person. She plans on going back next year as a counselor and every year after that in hopes of being able to utilize her degree and be a part of the medical staff.

Ryleigh’s story is one of many that have become a reality due in part to the contributions made by The Hope Foundation and its wonderful volunteers. To learn more of how you can become a recipient for financial assistance from The Hope Foundation, we invite you to contact us today.

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