My name is Fletcher Carey and I have Crohn's disease. I was diagnosed when I was 8 years old and I'm turning 18 this year.
Camp Purple Live 2021 was my last camp as a camper. I've been to all the camps except one. This is my last year of high school as well.
Camp has definitely made me feel less alone. Over the past 6 years I have met and made many friends with IBD and we all share our experiences with each other. While it has made me feel less alone, it also normalises IBD. It makes me feel that I'm not so different, that it’s not just me, that there are other people who are going through the same things as me.
The friends I have made still manage to keep in touch with each other. Some I keep in contact with through social media and group chats. This has helped me to keep up with what people are doing and to keep the support there even when we aren’t at Camp. I intend to keep more in contact, now more than ever, that I am no longer going back to camp as a camper.
Camp has had a huge impact on my life and it's been a wonderful experience. It has shown me that it's not just me who often misses school. I have met people who have had similar experiences from all walks of life and it's been great to make these new friends. It has also shown me what some of the leaders and volunteers, who have IBD themselves, can and have done. They have shown me that there is no limit to what you can do.
Going for the last time this year as a camper, left me feeling very sad. I was saying goodbye to friends and volunteers, even though it was a great experience. I'm definitely going to miss going to camp as a camper and I won't be able to attend for another couple years before I am old enough to volunteer.
Will I consider coming back to camp to volunteer? Yes, absolutely!
This camp has been a wonderful and great experience that has helped me grow as a person and show me so many wonderful things. I would love to be able to pass on that experience to the younger campers. So, I look forward to volunteering in 2024.