July 3, 2018

Happy Campers – Special Retreat Offers Support for Stroke Survivors and Their Caregivers

Marylee Nunley, whose husband survived a stroke, realized her dream of starting a camp for stroke survivors and their families in 2004. What began as a single camp in Illinois has grown into Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp, a national network of stroke camps with the mission of improving the quality of life for stroke survivors and those who love and care for them.

Keisha Hastings, coordinator for Mission Hospital’s Clinical Documentation Improvement Department, participated last year with her friend and stroke survivor Sandra Nutbrown. “Stroke Camp is an amazing opportunity that allows both the caregivers and the stroke patients a chance to relax, be vulnerable, and share feelings, fears and emotions,” said Hastings.

Stroke survivors, their caregivers and family members enjoy a weekend full of activities that are accessible for all ability levels including crafts, games, educational sessions, hiking/walking, relaxation and outdoor activities such as fishing and boating.

Hastings said the nightly shows and games were fun and provided much needed laughter. “But one of the most memorable [moments] was a breakout session with the caregivers,” she recalled. “Everyone really shared and cried, and it seemed that there was a lot of relief and healing that truly touched me.” “You are not just giving these individuals ‘a break,’” Hastings emphasized.

“You are allowing them to heal, become whole again, connect and make friends, let go of guilt and issues because they are around others who have gone through similar situations and emotions. This camp is so amazing!”

Mission Health Stroke program has hosted this camp for the past four years and is partnering again with Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp to bring this unique experience to western North Carolina. In 2018, camp dates are September 7-9, and registration is now open. For more information, visit strokecamp.org.

Keisha Hastings is a coordinator for Mission Hospital’s Clinical Documentation Improvement Department.