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The meaning of community

Former camper Kaitlyn Wannall, now 18, loved her time at Camp Discovery.

Kaitlyn’s story

Kaitlyn Wannall
Kaitlyn Wannall is looking forward to starting college in the fall of 2022.
The community of people with skin diseases is present everywhere. I became a part of this community when I was nine years old. It includes those with skin diseases, as well as doctors and researchers. This community looks out for their own. The dermatologists constantly communicate about their patients’ needs to give the best possible advice. People with skin diseases are often feared because we look different, leading to us feeling isolated from the rest of the world.

When I was nine my dermatologist told me about a camp for kids with skin diseases: Camp Discovery. The American Academy of Dermatology runs this free camp. They even have a location in Texas with a “night track” for kids like me with a sun allergy. I was fortunate to attend this camp.

Kaitlyn Wannall at Camp Discovery
Kaitlyn enjoyed her time at the Camp Discovery location in Texas when she was younger.

For the first time, I met kids with similar skin diseases. In the “night track” we did activities indoors during the day and traveled in covered carts to protect us from the sun. We did art projects, cooked, and played indoor sports. At night, we rode horses, zip-lined, and swam. We also planned a talent show performance where we displayed our talents without fear of people focusing on our skin. Our counselors were either dermatologists or previous campers and understood what we were going through. We were different together.

After attending the camp, I no longer felt alone in the world. Even as my condition improved, I returned to this camp for seven years and made friends from all over the United States. I will always keep them close to my heart. The wonderful community of doctors and children at this camp helped me accept who I am, and for that I am forever grateful.

I hope to one day be a counselor at the camp to help other kids.

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Camp Discovery provides children with chronic skin conditions the opportunity to make friends, find acceptance, and be themselves. Learn more about how you can get involved.

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