Twenty former MDA Summer Campers and counselors gather on a patio with a backdrop of green forested hills.

Former MDA Summer Campers Reunite After 14 Years

Kelly Cooper (pictured in the second row, third from the right), 34, who lives with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), hadn’t seen many of her MDA Summer Camp friends since she graduated from the program in 2008, and she wanted to change that. So, in July 2022, Kelly hosted a reunion in Phoenix, Maryland, gathering 13 Summer Camp friends and many counselors.

“Reconnecting with all of my friends — it was a feeling so great I cannot put it into words,” recalls Kelly, who attended Summer Camp in Leonardtown, Maryland, for eight years. “Time may have passed since we last saw each other in person, but the strength of our friendships never faded. Getting together for a reunion allowed us to rekindle those long-lost connections, laugh, and create memories for the future.”

After the 2022 gathering, another former camper hosted a reunion in 2023. Kelly is planning for summer 2024 and hopes this becomes an annual tradition.

“The friendships I made at Summer Camp have had a profound and lasting impression on me,” Kelly says. “Before attending MDA Summer Camp, I did not know anyone else in a wheelchair or with muscular dystrophy. Summer Camp allowed me to develop a support network of people diagnosed with muscular dystrophy who all experience the same struggles that I experience. My Summer Camp friends have all become my best friends, my greatest supporters, and the people I turn to when I am struggling.”

Maggie Callahan is a writer and editor for Quest Media.

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