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Abilene hospital holds camp for kids with asthma

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ABILENE, Texas - Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene is hosting its 14 th annual asthma camp at Hardin-Simmons University.

The camp is for children between the ages of eight and 11 who have various grades of asthma. It teaches them how to identify their symptoms, control them and manage asthma on a daily basis. Campers will spend the week from Monday to Thursday doing various physical activities, playing games, and learning about their asthma.

Susan McQuade, an asthma educator with the camp, says having asthma doesn't mean your child won't live a completely normal life.

"These kids are healthy," said McQuade. "However, they do have an illness that they need to learn how to take control of and how to live with it. We give them the tools that they need to be able to live healthy lives and control their asthma so it doesn't control them."

The camp counselors are respiratory therapists who help monitor and treat campers as needed. Devin Hernandez, a former camper, returned to be a counselor in training to help the newer campers.

"Asthma's not really something you need to be afraid of," said Hernandez. "It's just something you need to get used to and take control of."

The main thing organizers want campers to learn is that having asthma doesn't have to be a life changer -- there are kids just like them who have the same illness but can still play sports and run around.

"It's helped them because they're children who have the same illness," said McQuade. "They have friends that they've built and they come back every year. It gives them the confidence that they need to go out and deal with this illness and take control."

The camp will have a second session in August for an older age group. Registration for that session has not started yet.

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