AJ Wise loves the outdoors. He loves animals (especially his dog Terrell). And he loves superheroes. As a 13-year-old living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, however, he couldn’t see his own superpowers and became accustomed to saying “I can’t” when it came to many things.
That changed when AJ came to Victory Lane Camp’s Pace Lap Camp. AJ discovered his inner superhero. He was hesitant at first, but AJ quickly gained a new understanding of what he is capable of doing and became somewhat of a celebrity among the families at camp. His sidekick service dog Terrell, turbo fast wheelchair, and extensive knowledge about everything from animals to hot peppers were the first superhero signs people noticed. As the week went on, his relentless determination became his most obvious superpower. This determination has continued after camp.
“AJ has been so motivated to do things, and his spirits have been really high,” said his mom Taby. “He doesn’t give us any hassles when it comes to doing his stretches and stuff.”
AJ’s nurse attended therapy sessions with AJ at camp. Greg Kaucher, AJ’s assigned therapist for the week, introduced her to innovative stretches and therapy techniques that she could do with AJ outside of camp. AJ is continuing therapy sessions at 321Go Kids therapy clinic.
While at camp, AJ ventured out of his comfort zone to star in skits around the campfire and take a canoe ride in an adaptive canoe. He became a fixture on the nightly golf cart circuit with VLC Board Member Don Criswell.
AJ’s parents loved that camp involved the whole family and included all types of families. They enjoyed making connections that they intend to keep long after camp, and are eager for upcoming activities with the Victory Lane Camp community.
“A lot of places, you feel like you are by yourself. I’ve never felt so welcome. We were included as opposed to being excluded,” Taby expressed. “There are people out there who do care and do want to help. There is hope.”