Camp Courage at MPS Society Family Conference Brings Fun, Support and Peace of Mind

Dan Leonard | October 11, 2012

Barbara Wedehase, Executive Director of the National MPS Society here in the U.S., talks about the impact of Camp Courage at the Society's annual family conference.

As executive director of the National MPS Society (, I’ve been overseeing our annual family conference for 12 years. It’s a packed weekend filled with educational presentations about disease management, treatments and research, and perhaps most importantly, networking for families. Families fly in from around the U.S. to learn, to connect, and to have fun. Over the years, I have come to believe that one measure of the success of the conference is the satisfaction the parents and children have with Camp Courage, our childcare.

Camp Courage provides peace of mind for parents so they can attend sessions knowing their children are safe and having fun. Although we have “Coach” Jerry and his staff who supervise, we require many volunteers during each session. There is such diversity among the children, both within and among the various MPS diseases, and we also have their siblings in childcare. Some children are very active, whereas others are no longer verbal or mobile. This year we had over 75 children in Camp Courage!

Thanks to Kathleen Coolidge, Dan Leonard and especially Lisa O’Donnell, who generated interest among Genzyme employees to volunteer at Camp Courage, we had amazing volunteers! The kids loved them and had so much fun, which resulted in happy parents. These are a few comments parents wrote on their conference evaluations:

"My kids loved camp courage this year! Not sure why it was so different from last year but this year they could not WAIT to get to camp courage and play. Loved that there were LOTS of volunteers to help with kids. I was able to walk away worry-free at each drop off."

"Camp Courage is the most amazing thing!"

"Camp Courage was a huge success."

On behalf of everyone who attended our conference, I want to thank the volunteers for the best gifts they could give our children – their time and love. I look forward to future collaborations with Genzyme!

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