CMN Month of Miracles: Thor Forte

Camp Hope is a camp specifically for children living with sickle cell anemia.
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 9:18 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Sickle cell anemia is a group of disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down—and it can cause pain, infections, and tiredness in people who have it.

For kids who suffer from sickle cell, need treatments, but still want to experience fun summers—there’s Camp Hope.

Thor Forte, 9, is a brave, young boy fighting this disorder, along with the medical professionals dedicated to making a difference.

Thor said, “My friends will come over and ask me if I can play. And I say, ‘no,’ because I have an underlying condition.”

Thor is a child who tries to live a normal life, or as close as possible, while fighting through constant pain. His dad Rodney Forte always worries about him.

Rodney said, “It causes extreme pain; mostly in his back, in his stomach and as of lately, he’s been having pain in his legs and in other joints as well.”

At the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital in Greenville, Thor has to go through a lot of treatments. However, there are some special tools to keep his mind off the treatment, even just for a minute.

“In the ceilings, there is a TV. and the child is able to pick between four sets, or they can actually watch their favorite movie while we’re preparing to do their treatment,” Greco said.

Nurse Manager Vicky Greco helps patients like Thor with their treatments. She sees firsthand the benefits of the Children’s Miracle Network.

Greco said, ”The virtual reality goggles—which we utilize for IV starts; we could not do this without the funding that we receive from CMN.”

When they’re not making trips to the hospital, kids just want to be kids. However, going to summer camp isn’t easy for a child with sickle cell because of all the medical attention they need. That’s why there’s Camp Hope directed by Jacque Sauls.

“We recognize the need for children with sickle cell disease to get to know each other,” Sauls said, “But also have a fun camping experience that they weren’t really offered at traditional camps.”

Sauls said she and her staff make every effort to cater this camp to the child’s needs. Some of them know even better than most what those needs are, because they have sickle cell themselves.

”We do sailing, swimming, canoeing, crafts, arts, drama, music,” said Sauls, “But we add into that some educational things for children with sickle cell disease.”

They want to keep the camps going, but they said sometimes have to turn down campers.

Saul said, “We probably had 150 children who are eligible for Camp Hope, and we took 38 for funding reasons.”

Your donations could help Camp Hope take more applicants.

Greco said, “Everybody knows a child in Eastern North Carolina. Please give and donate. We truly appreciate every penny.”

This sickle cell warrior isn’t giving up his fight and he and his family want other kids to get these same experiences.

Rodney said, ”Believe me. It definitely goes to a great cause.”

Thor said, “Just go ahead and donate because it’s an awesome hospital.”

Like a lot of things this year, Camp Hope is a little different than usual because of COVID-19, but they still need your help. They’re currently working on virtual camps for July.

You can help families like the Forte’s by donating to the Children’s Miracle Network. You can call 1-877-719-5437 or visit our website to find a link to donate.

We also have a Month of Miracles special coming up this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on WITN.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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