Asthma camp helps kids breathe easier - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Asthma camp helps kids breathe easier

Jessica Taylor and friends at Camp Tyler. (Source: KLTV staff) Jessica Taylor and friends at Camp Tyler. (Source: KLTV staff)

Some children suffer from asthma that is so severe it keeps them from taking part in sports or doing anything strenuous. Unfortunately, that includes many summer camps.

But for the past 30 Years UT Health Northeast has been making sure those children get to have camp memories too. What these kids learn actually helps them have better attendance when they go back to school.

For the campers, it’s like a breath of fresh air: the ability to just be a kid at summer cam. Keon Barroa, like the other campers, has learned allergens are triggers, and what the warning signs are for an attack. He also learned how easy it is to capsize a canoe.

“Last year did you tip over?” I asked him.

“Yes, sir, I tipped over and stayed in the lake,” Barroa replied.

“Are you going to do that this year?”

“Oh, no, sir,” he said.

With that he was in the canoe. Some camp counselors had equipment issues.

“That life jacket is not going to hold him up,” I pointed out to a second counselor who watched the first counselor struggle with wearing a child’s life jacket.

Meanwhile another group of campers were learning about an asthma attack, comparing it to a Mentos mint dropped into a Diet Coke.

“It was awesome,” said camper Jessica Taylor.

Lauren Anderson learned some things that trigger an attack, like  pollen, mold and grass.

Nancy Starkey, Camp Nurse Director, says the camp is important for the kid’s confidence.

“They learn that they can be regular kids and that they can get out and participate and do whatever they want to as long as they keep their asthma under control,” Starkey said.

And out at the lake Keon learned tipping a canoe is always easy, but, just like last year, getting back in is hard. And leaving camp behind is, too. This is Keon’s last year, but he leaves with the knowledge of just how far he can go.

Asthma camp runs $250 for the week, but the Texas Chest Foundation provides financial assistance to those who qualify.

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