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Keeping All Kids Active While Still Staying Safe

MOUNT VERNON, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – The kids at Camp Tanager are the kind you might expect to see at any summer camp.

“Some of them might be first-time campers and going away from home for the first time,” said the Hemophilia Nurse Coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Iowa Karla Watkinson.

Just with one small twist.

“They’ve never have been away from Mom and Dad and here they have a bleeding disorder,” said Watkinson.

This week, Camp Tanager is hosting kids who have Hemophilia. It’s a bleeding disorder that prevents blood from clotting and can lead to bleeding within muscles and joints.

While staying active is key for children to stay healthy, especially for these kids, it can be more dangerous for these youngsters.

“We don’t want them playing contact football for example, but here are a lot of things that are really fair game,” said the University of Iowa’s Hemophilia Program Medical Director Dr. Janice Staber.

In addition to your regular summer camp lessons, the staff at Hemophilia Camp uses ‘teaching moments’ to show the kids how to properly use their infusion devices. They also show the youngsters how to safely get rid of their needles when they are done.

“They can live seemingly normal lives even with their bleeding disorders,” said Dr. Staber. “So that’s really what we encourage for them to take away.”

Where the staff leaves off, some older campers pick up.

“They step up and role model good behaviors and good treatment procedures that they have been doing for a good part of their life,’ said Camp Tanager Director Donald Pirrie.

Kids helping their peers stay outside, as if they never knew what hemophilia was.

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