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Sharing camp with peers makes it extra special

MONICA TISCHLER
Last updated 05:00 06/03/2014
Dan Riley
LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS: Lisa Martin, 11, pictured with mum Louise, loves Camp KeeWee because she’s surrounded with children going through similar circumstances.

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Every year, Lisa Martin looks forward to joining more than 30 other children facing similar health issues at Camp KeeWee.

The annual camp is run by Kidney Kids New Zealand and its members get together for activities and adventures including kayaking, dining out and going to theme parks.

This year's Camp KeeWee will take place from Friday to Sunday at Henderson's Carey Park Christian Camp.

Massey resident Lisa, 11, is set to attend for the second year and says it's nice being with like-minded people facing similar health issues.

"Kidney Kids is about kids with kidney problems and you can trust the group and tell them your personal problems because they are going through something similar or worse," she says.

Lisa's kidneys aren't growing at the same rate as the rest of her body and function at 40 per cent.

Both kidneys have reflux - a backward flow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys and there are also cysts on her right kidney.

Lisa's condition means she will require dialysis as a young adult and she currently needs six monthly check-ups at Starship children's hospital.

Although Lisa was born with her condition, it wasn't picked up until she was one-year-old and developed a urinary track infection.

She's been a member of Kidney Kids for the last five years - an organisation that's been "really helpful," says mum Louise.

"Staff have not only helped with dietary needs and practical support but have been helpful with the emotional side too," she says.

"You sometimes have things to discuss that nobody else would understand."

Kidney Kids national family support and events co-ordinator Courtanay Gray says Camp KeeWee gives children the chance to meet peers going through similar circumstances.

"Some children with high needs like dialysis can't attend their school camps and this gives them the opportunity to experience the normal part of growing up," she says.

Call 0800 215 437 or visit kidneykids.org.nz.

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