Camp Reynal Unites And Inspires Children With Kidney Failure

Summer camps in Texas are in full swing for kids and we found one camp in Bosque County that's unlike any other.

It brings kids from across Texas together, to bond over what they have in common and over the course of a week their lives are transformed.

"Welcome to boats! We're going to go through our guidelines, are you all ready?" said a camp counselor sitting by the lake at Camp John Marc in Meridian.

Kidney Texas, Inc. president, Sandy Secor, talks about the organization, the need for kidney donors, and their luncheon fundraiser.

This summer camp location is a great place to connect over what you have in common.

"I just tell them I like boats! Ya boats! Ya boats!" said the kids in a call and repeat with their boating leader.

The facilities at Camp John Marc are hosting Camp Reynal, which is a summer camp for kids with kidney failure.

"This is my fifth year at Camp Reynal as a counselor," Eunice Esparza said with a smile. She was only 10 years old when she first came here as a camper.

This year, Camp Reynal has around 100 kid campers. "You can interact with other kids that are just like you and you don't get pointed out in the real world that you're not normal," Eunice said.

"These kids cannot go to a traditional camp because they have to be on dialysis," Corey said.

Because of that, dialysis machines are brought to the camp so kids never have to leave camp to get treatment.

The process of dialysis can take hours and the treatment at Camp Reynal often comes with a bonus in the form of a peaceful distraction by Camp Reynal's Medical Director, Dr. Raymond Quigley.

Dr. Raymond Quigley, Camp Reynal’s Medical Director, talks about how Camp Reynal is helpful to children with kidney failure, how the campers inspire him and how he hopes his music helps during their dialysis treatment.

He plays his fiddle while the dialysis machines do the work of kidneys: taking blood out of the body, filtering it, and putting it back in.

"I get a lot of strength from the kids just because they take it in stride and just keep trucking," Dr. Quigley said.

Having these machines at a kids' camp is a rare opportunity.

"At a camp it's almost impossible to find," Corey said. "In fact, the week that we're here at Camp Reynal, it is probably the biggest pediatric dialysis unit in the Southwest and possibly in the country."

The medical staff and support allows children with kidney failure to come together and bond through their bravery.

"You can't imagine the feeling you get from 100 kids all coming to camp feeling sick and running around feeling so happy and being able to do everything that any other kid could normally do," Corey said.

"This feels like home because you feel like you're not alone," Eunice said. "You feel like you belong somewhere and you're part of something—something big,"

Coming to Camp Reynal is a week of normalcy that inspires confidence for life.

Out of the 100 campers, no one has to pay to attend Camp Reynal thanks to organizations like KidneyTexas, Inc., National Kidney Foundation, Camp John Marc and Camp Reynal volunteers who raise money to help support the camp. The dialysis machines are also provided at no cost thanks to Fresenius Kidney Care.

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