Brianna's Summer: The Camp Discovery Experience
The Camp Discovery Experience
”For just five days, our daughter could be a kid!” Jennifer Johnson, Oak Park

It’s what every parent wants:  a chance for his or her child to have the most normal childhood possible. For Brian and Jenn Johnson, that goal wasn’t an easy one to achieve. Brianna was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 2. Now 8 years old, the Johnsons heard about The Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan’s Camp Discovery a few years ago.They soon discovered that not only did the Foundation offer a unique camping experience for young people with epilepsy, but that the Foundation was committeed to giving this experience to every child with epilepsy, regardless of their ability to cover the full cost.

In 2013, Brianna got the chance to attend, and according to her parents, it changed her life! “It’s had such a positive impact on how she manages her illness,” said Jenn. “She loved the socialization and the interaction with other kids. She no longer fears the fact that she has epilepsy and has to do things like take her medication. Not only did she learn more about epilepsy, but she learned that she could be a kid!”  Taking part in everything from swimming to rock climbing, Brianna can’t say enough about her time at camp. “I can meet other kids and make lots of friends! I can’t wait to go back to camp because it’s like real camp,” said Brianna with a huge smile on her face!

But, Brianna’s path to camp wasn’t an easy one. “Health care costs have skyrocketed, and the cost of her meds is so high,” said Brian, Brianna’s dad, a special education teacher. “You want your child to have good experiences and do things other children do, and we wouldn’t be able to provide this opportunity to Brianna 
without the financial assistance from the Foundation to help cover the camper fee."

“This has had such a positive effect on managing her illness,” said Jenn. “We want to be able to again provide her with this chance to be a kid! Everyday she asks me, 'How many more days until camp, Mom?”  Brianna learned so much about living with epilepsy and what the condition looks like in other 
kids, that recently, she was able to spot seizures in her little brother, Ethan, who was recently diagnosed. “She was so clam, it amazed us,” said Jenn. “I think we can thank Camp Discovery!”
For me and my incredible staff, there is no finer moment than when we see that enormous smile on a child, such as Brianna. And, I can tell you that we see so many of those smiles for those five days at Camp Discovery.

The experience truly is life-changing, much like the Johnson family described. The children who attend camp, get to spend their time involved in camp activities under the safety of 24-hour-a-day medical supervision. But, our goal for Camp Discovery is to make this a memorable camp experience.  We can only do that with your help.

It costs about $1,000 for each camper to attend Camp Discovery, and often, our campers and their families cannot afford this. We want to make camp available for each young person with epilepsy who would like to attend.

Any amount will make a difference! So, while we all wait for spring to arrive, please consider helping these wonderful youngsters like Brianna Johnson, experience the magic of Camp Discovery!

Thank you,
Arlene S. Gorelick, MPH