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As a child, Anton* attended Camp Ray of Hope in Romania for several years, getting the unique opportunity to engage in physical activities—jumping, running and swimming—despite living with hemophilia, a rare genetic disorder that prevents blood from clotting. Anton is one of approximately 1,600 people living with hemophilia in Romania. Many do not receive regular administration of the blood-clotting medicines they need because treatments are expensive and often difficult to access.
Before finding the camp, Anton had to abstain from play for fear of injury. Even a bruise could have serious consequences. Forced to stay at home, this depressed and angry boy lived in constant pain barely able to walk or attend school. But because of donations of Factor VIII and Factor IX from Baxter International and AmeriCares through Camp Ray of Hope, Anton received proper treatment to manage his hemophilia. At last he was able to enjoy the outdoors, learning life skills through creative expression and physical activity. The nurturing environment helped him develop friendships and receive the psychological support he needed to achieve greater self-esteem, independence and confidence.
Camp Ray of Hope is a project of S.T.A.R. Children Relief, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children in Romania. Through its unique and often life-changing experiences, the camp offers children with hemophilia and other serious illnesses the opportunity to feel normal, if only for one week. Thanks to Baxter International, the camp was able to celebrate its ninth anniversary and host 40 children.
“When I started Camp Ray of Hope nine years ago, I could not have envisioned such an outcome,” said S.T.A.R. Children Relief Founder and President Adriana Henderson. “Seeing these children grow and develop right before my eyes is a blessing and I am honored to be able to offer such life-changing possibilities with the help of AmeriCares and its partners.”
Years later, Anton has returned to the camp as a volunteer and counselor-in-training to ensure the young campers enjoy the experience at Camp Ray of Hope as much as he did.