Camp 'was worth it'
"Thankk you to everyone. It was totally worth it."
That's the message from quadruple amputee Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman who has just got back from from Camp No Limits in Maine, in the United States.
The annual camp provides education, mentorship and support to children from around the world coping with limb loss.
Waiheke Marketplace readers were among Suburban Newspapers' followers across Auckland who helped raise $10,154 to get Charlotte there.
The money rolled in after a $5000 donation by the Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Trust kick started the fundraising drive for Charlotte and her family in June.
"I want to say thanks to everyone who sent some money in," 9-year-old Charlotte says.
"I went on a rock wall and a kayak and I went swimming. I didn't really want to walk on my blades, but I did.
"One day it was so hot I ran into the water. It's easier taking them off than it is putting them on again."
Charlotte caught up with her friend and mentor, American athlete and triple amputee Cameron Clapp, who motivated her during a similar event last year.
And she also found herself mentoring others.
"This time at camp I taught my new friend Fernanda how to walk," Charlotte says.
"It felt like I was Cameron because he helped me - so I helped Fernanda and also Jeremiah, another boy."
Charlotte's mum Pam says the experience stirred "every emotion you can think of".
"There were a lot of kids there who had had meningitis like Charlotte," Pam says.
"Fernanda and Jeremiah had both had it. They were younger and struggling. She was able to be a mentor to them.
"You can't put a price on it. It's amazing."
Pam says the camp experiences set the kids up for life.
"Charlotte is being a person we haven't seen before. She has brought back a maturity we couldn't give her.
Charlotte has gone back to school without her power chair.
"She is running on her legs, but it doesn't take much for her energy to go. We have to work on her fitness, and give her cool-down times. Our goal is for her to be able to do a whole day. The teachers are now having to re-create support around her needs."
Pam and Charlotte's dad Perry also want to thank everyone who helped Charlotte get to camp.
"It gives us hope for the future," Pam says.