H1N1 Cancels Muscular Dystrophy Camp in Guthrie
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
GUTHRIE, Oklahoma -- Nearly 50 Oklahoma children with physical challenges say the best part of their summer has been canceled.
The annual Muscular Dystrophy Association summer camp in Guthrie, and MDA camps across the country, have been postponed until next year following a break-out of the H1N1 flu at camps already underway.
At least 11 confirmed cases and six suspected cases have been reported at MDA camps in three states. Oklahoma's MDA camp was scheduled to begin Monday.
"We just didn't want to take a chance with the kids who already have weak immune systems," said MDA spokeswoman Lindsey Bryan.
This is an unprecedented decision in the history of the MDA's camp program, which began over 50 years ago.
"And they can do power soccer and they can do swimming. Anything that a normal kid can do at summer camp that we can tweak it and they can do it," Bryan said.
The MDA said the decision is based solely on the organization's commitment to the health of the campers and those who volunteer.
"I understand and I would rather my daughter be well instead of sick," said Choctaw resident Melissa Mortimer.
Her 11-year old daughter, Alexis, has been to the MDA camp every year for five years, but is understanding of why the camps were canceled.
"Yeah, I'm kind of bummed. I'd rather not go and not get sick, but yeah, it's kind of sad," said Alexis.
Alexis suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Despite missing out on a camp she loves, Alexis was picked by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to go to Disneyworld in Orlando, so she has something else exciting to look forward to.
Some of the MDA kids who have the H1-N1 virus have been put in the hospital and there are currently six more suspected cases throughout the country.