The annual family camp was held from Friday 19 November – Sunday 21 November at NSW Academy of Sport, Narrabeen. This was a great experience for the children with haemophilia and other rare inherited bleeding disorders and for their siblings and parents.
From rock climbing to archery to canoe races, and, most importantly, swimming, the sign up sheets fill up fast on the first day of camp every year. This year, on the second night of camp, after the kids had finished their Finding Fairyland disco party, and the teens had finished their disco bowling evening out, the parents took to the microphones for a brilliant evening of karaoke. Every year, they plan something different, but the result is always the same; the event binds the families together across generations. Genuine friendships and support networks naturally emerge to last a lifetime – this is just what our kids and their families need when faced with a lifelong and incurable inherited bleeding disorder.
Swimming and other exercises in a pool is one of the most important skills for a child with haemophilia because it will not place stress or strain on their joints or muscles. The water supports them while they exercise a particular joint or muscles to regain strength and movement after a bleeding episode. Regular swimming is encouraged to maintain muscle strength which helps to protect joints from bleeding. A physiotherapist attends the camp to teach techniques and exercise routines in the pool.
The annual NSW Family Camp is one of the most important activities held each year. It brings together many families, from all over the state. It is a time that parents meet up again with friends, and offers a rare time to relax while the boys are engaged in activities that help them learn to manage their bleeding disorder more independently. Throughout the weekend families participate in health education and peer support sessions as well as the many fun activities.
We thank the James N. Kirby Foundation for its generous support towards the weekend.