Sports camp for kids with disabilities - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Sports camp for kids with disabilities

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It's not every day Keenan Calbert gets picked to be on a sports team

"We're just trying to have fun," says Keenan.

For five days this nine year old is in heaven.

Because most of the time he's not able to move around a lot.

"I have Oesophagitis," says Keenan.

"It's a throat disease and I can't eat certain foods. I have stomachaches and they can't be controlled so I miss lots of school."

Which is where Mike Simmel comes in.

"I've had epilepsy since the age of two," says Simmel.

"I was at a basketball camp at the age of 16 years old and I had a seizure. The camp wanted to send me home."

Simmel says that rejection was the start of something good. A camp he calls "Bounce out the Stigma."

"It feels good because you can prove people wrong and I just want to show these kids they can do the same thing," says Simmel.

"Bounce out the Stigma" is a free, week-long camp where kids age 2 to 21 learn to play ball and make healthy lifestyle choices.

"You can't look at a limitation as something that's going to overwhelm you; have to work twice as hard as anybody else no matter what," says Simmel.

Jay Taylor doesn't have any health issues but he's here because his sister does."

"My sister has epilepsy," says Jay.

For Jay, the camp is a chance to be with his sister and make new friends.

"Probably just having fun and being part of the game," says the 10 year old.

Which is exactly what Keenan wants, to be a part of something because for a little boy with a big-named disease he knows all the things he cannot do.

"I can't have bananas, apples peaches pretty much all nutrients," says Keenan.

But for a week he's learning the things he can do.

For more information about the camp - http://bounceoutthestigma.org/bounce-out-the-stigma-2013-charlotte-n-camp/ .   

Mike's story is pretty amazing too as he was placed in Special Ed classes growing up because people thought he was "slow" and he could not hop, skip or jump.  

He ended up being a star basketball player in high school and college and now plays professionally.  Here is his bio - http://bounceoutthestigma.org/mike-simmel-our-founder/

 

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