Flying Horse Farms Camp offers chance to be a kid

Flying Horse Farms camp offers chance to be a kid

AKRON - 16-year-old Caleb Thurman is a Firestone High School Junior.

He is a bit of an overachiever.

Baseball, drum major in the band, wrestling and track. 

But every six weeks, for six hours at a time, he hooks up to infusion treatments at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Because with Crohn’s disease, so often his colon doesn't cooperate and his juvenile arthritis means his joints cramp up.

But Caleb plugs into gratitude with the grace some more than twice his age haven't found

"I just don't like to complain about it. It’s something I’m going to have to go through and there is no use in letting it take over my whole life," says Thurman.

That comes from a kid who has grown up with constant meds, schedules full of doctor and hospital visits, yet still maintains a 3.0 GPA.

But then again, he's had a pretty excellent mentor in his mom.

"I tell him all the time, illness is no excuse for ignorance so you have to get out there and push yourself!" says Thurman’s mother, Charice Fort.

Caleb found some of that encouragement as a kid at Flying Horse Farms in Mount Gilead Ohio with other kids up against serious illness..

There is swimming, fishing, camping and ziplines.

It's permission to soar.

"I saw Caleb open up on a level that I didn't think he could. He was free to be Caleb," said Fort.

"It just always feels like home.  No matter if you are leading the camp or going to the camp it's always going home," says Thurman, who is now a camp ranger who mentors campers.

"It is a truly magical place for kids to feel a sense of normalcy.  He didn’t have to explain why he had leg braces on, or why he would sit down because he had back pain, because those kids down there understood what he was going through.  They get to celebrate being children. For one week out of the year they get to be kids on such a normal level," says Fort.

The REST of their lives, kids like Caleb are inspiring us ALL!

"You just try to keep moving forward," says Thurman.

"If I could do cartwheels right now, I would. I am such a proud mom!" says Fort.

The Spring season is just starting at Flying Horse Farms. This weekend's camp is in Cleveland. It's 'Campfire Cleveland 2017' at TINK, the Tinkham Veale Student Center on 11038 Bellflower Road.

O.A.R. is performing along with Caly Bevier of 'America's Got Talent' fame.

WKYC’s Sara Shookman will be there for what she predicts will be an excellent Saturday night out.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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