Helping Sally Swim
--by optimist, posted Apr 12, 2007
One year, as a Senior Counselor, I was in charge of one Teams for games and activities. On the first day, the camp director came to talk to me, leading a small girl. For the purposes of this story, I will call her Sally. She was adorable, vivacious, smart, funny, and about 9 years old. And, in additon to asthma, she had sickle cell disease. This meant I had to keep a very, very close eye on her, particularly during games. Overexertion, dehydration, overheating, being too cold, not being able to breathe right: these were all things that could spell major trouble for Sally. They were things that could potentially be life threatening.
Because of her condition, Sally was not allowed to go swimming in the camp's pool: the water had to be at least 80 degrees for her to swim, and that had never happened in the camp's history. She wanted to SO bad, though. Then, worst heat wave ever hit camp. While this made most others miserable, Sally was in heaven; for the first time, the water temperature hit 80 degrees. She begged and pleaded, so I took her to one of the camp doctors. He gave her clearance, and Sally and I headed for the pool. It was there that I found out that Sally had rarely ever been swimming, and did not actually know how to swim.
Now, I'm not the world's greatest swimmer, but I couldn't take looking at her face as she watched all the other kids shooting through the water like dolphins. So we got to work. 15 minutes later, everyone in camp knew. She ran from person to person, bragging about the fact that she, who could never swim before, was now a regular little otter.
Sally will always have many more problems than the rest of us have to deal with. It may be years before she gets to swim again. But for that day, she was able to rise above the things that were holding her back and find that she could do anything. And knowing that I had helped put that smile on her face made me feel like I had really touched a life. It wasn't just about learning how to swim; it was about rising above.
thanks for sharing
A great thing you did for that little girl, a really inspiring story.