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“I think ‘wow!’ that was amazing for me — I felt normal for the first time in my whole life for that week at camp,” said Alexandru, a young hemophilia patient and former participant at Camp Ray of Hope in Romania.
For many youngsters like Alexandru suffering with hemophilia, every day of their childhood is full of risk. Hemophilia, a rare genetic disorder which prevents blood from clotting, is a lifelong disease primarily affecting boys.
Just falling down can be life-threatening. For these children in Romania, where hemophilia medications are expensive and difficult to find, leading a normal childhood is almost impossible.
The Romanian Camp represents the only time that many of the boys will receive prophylactic treatment for the disease and be able to engage in active sports. To make that life-changing opportunity a reality, AmeriCares delivered over $216,000 in basic medical supplies and essential blood products for the children with hemophilia at Camp Ray of Hope.
While there is no cure for the disease, hemophilia can be managed through regular administration of the blood-clotting medicines, Factor VIII and Factor IX. In addition to sending these products, AmeriCares also provided other medications and hygiene products to support campers during their stay and to take home after the end of camp.
Camp Ray of Hope in Buzias, Romania was founded in 2005 by a Romanian children’s relief organization. A free week-long retreat for boys aged 8-18 with hemophilia offers these children a unique experience to participate in activities they would not otherwise be able to enjoy because of the limitations of their disease.
“Here at the camp I find Factor VIII, and that was the first time I ever received preventative treatment. At the end of camp, I got 29 units to take home—it lasted me a whole year. It was the most amazing gift!” said Alexandru.
As part of the program, volunteer doctors and nurses conducted medical seminars and training sessions on how to administer medications to the 40 campers. The boys also played low-impact sports and games with fellow campers and enjoyed other traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts, swimming, and a talent show.
One young camper during a real day of just being a normal kid.
AmeriCares has been providing medical and humanitarian aid to Romania for over two decades. Since 1990, AmeriCares has sent more than $205 million worth of lifesaving medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian relief to Romania.
AmeriCares partners with hospitals in Romania’s largest urban centers to treat hemophilia patients, sending regular shipments of blood-clotting medications. Institutul Clinic Fundeni and Louis Turcanu Emergency Hospital for Children are two of the leading hemophilia programs working with AmeriCares.