Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's the moments that matter … part 1

By Monica Vest Wheeler
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp Staff Volunteer

One of the most precious elements of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is witnessing moments that are memorable and that matter. I have been so blessed to be in just the right place at the right time to see priceless human connections unfold before my camera lens. This week and for the next couple of weeks, I want to share the stories behind some of my favorite photos that in some small way tell the story of Stroke Camp and why this organization is so vital to so many folks.

During evening activities at our Living Springs camp in 2014, I was mesmerized by watching music therapist Kyle Wilhelm, right, interact with stroke survivor Mel. Mel has severe aphasia, which has hindered his ability to speak, but it has not dampened his enthusiasm for life and the odd ability to say two words, "hot dog!"

I love Mel and his devoted wife and caregiver Dora, and I stood off to the side for about 10 minutes watching Kyle work with Mel to bring some rhythm to his speaking efforts. We've seen some amazing miracles with music therapy at camp, which is a whole other subject. What I loved about this moment was the human bond these two men are sharing to learn new ways of communicating.

The roots of Stroke Camp are based on pure and simple human connections. It's truly what camp is all about, whether it's a survivor or caregiver getting personalized attention on ways to improve their daily life, or reminding them that there IS life after stroke.

Yes, there IS much more to be discovered about life after a stroke … much more laughter to be shared … much more love and friendship to be revealed. And that's the ultimate beauty of Stroke Camp …

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