tv ABC7 News on KOFY 7PM KOFY June 6, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
it's camp arroyo. >> abc7 is proud to bring you the stories of some incredibly courageous people battling life-threatening diseases. in our special program called i just like me." ♪ >> it's amazing to be here with all these kids. it's exciting and reminds me what i need to do. >> the taylor family foundation brings kids together like these through camp arroyo. >> thank you fay legislator family foundation! >> they partnered with the east bay regional park district in 1997 to build this state of the art green campsite to host free camps for children and teens dealing everything from hiv-aids
to asthma to autism and loss of loved ones. >> i'm here because i have a heart condition. >> it was on the left side of her brain. >> i was born with one arm. we don't really know why. >> my father and pie grandfather died. my father died of a heart attack. >> kids that come here with all these hard experiences at home, they get to play with kids and meet with other kids just like them. >> it's so much fun. i always talk about how usually the last day the girls are going home and they are going to miss their friends.
but they are so tired because they stay up too late and they talk about everything about hard to eat. i can't go for a i can't go on the day. what do you think when you pass away from this disease. they share these commonalties that give them, i want to say a sense of peace and give them a feeling they are just not alone. >> outside the camp i know no one else that has a heart problem or anything wrong with them. so it's really special to me because i get to be with people that understand what it's like. >> whenever we can share stuff then some people know exactly how we felt. so that just makes me feel good that other people have the same experience.
>> that was a reminder, i just want to be here and give it my all. this camp is only five days long but all the things we have here and all the fun. >> sometimes kids start counting fingers and it's important to have the kids recognize. not only other kids with other things lke that but there are hand differences just like them. >> they show their scars. one girl, says, oh, yeah, i have that, too. we have exactly the same things. >> they come here and see for the first time, you have the same scars as i do. i'll never forget the first time two little seven-year-olds took their shirt off. one of them reached over and touched it because they never seen it on another person. >> my goodness.
>> it was just tear-jerker but it was just so powerful what that one moment was for that child to open their eyes and say oh, there is someone like me. it changes their attitude. it changes their self-confidence and everything changes. >> it gives them strength. >> i get to be here. here it's like no one can make fun of you. >> this is where kids can do what they want and not be afraid of being judged or being critical. >> maybe i can't run but i can do other things and play basketball. >> when i was six years old i was diagnosed with a lung condition w called pulmonary hypertension. i've been on an i.v. pump. >> the spirit of kids when they are hurting.
there is fierceness about living. it's upbeat. this is going to be good. we're going to be okay. >> you've had four open heart surgeries and he suffered a stroke. he is just bag kid trying to understand his disease and what his limitations are. >> my condition is known as half of a heart. i wasn't able to circulated blood through my lungs or to my body. >> he remembers feeling different. so for a period he was feeling because of his scar on his chest not being able to keep up with his classmates. >> he was not expected to live but now he is going off to a college to be an rn in pediatrics. it's amazing.
because he did make it and he is you is of a mentor to those kids. >> it's an opportunity for growth and everyone to look up to you. it's an amazing growing experience for me. >> the things i love when these kids come to camp and they see older kids. they know they are going to survive. they know there is hope. it is not all about their disease anymore. it's about being a which would and playing and having fun and meeting other kids just like them. meeting older kids that are in college. i'm going to go to college no matter how critical i am. >> it the things you can do, not that you can't do. >> cheryl: these girls fight food issues every day but not at camp arroyo. meet other kids like them when our special continues and learn how the camp all begin thanks to the taylor family foundation. >> they started out of their
forward to, these five days you can be normal. >> you don't have to feel different there. i feel like i'm in my own world. >> taylor foundation has helped more than 35,000 children have fun! build confidence, break down stigmas. >> what do you tell people when they ask you about it. >> and make new friends so that each can say there are others -- just like me. >> northern california children didn't have any resources. >> barry and elaine taylor started the foundation in 1990 to help children living with hiv and aids. >> from there it went to, the family needs strollers and bart tickets. oh, my gosh, in the summer they only get to hang out but they
have nothing going on. it was like we need to put something together. >> cheryl: that is exactly what they did. in 1997 they started building camp arroyo. >> the good things, it means there is more room for other kids. >> cheryl: by the time they opened in 2000. taylor family foundation decided to open it up to all children battling life-threatening conditions for free. >> when they first showed me the property back in the '90s, there was nothing? >> this was a big dirt hill. it was a tremendous amount to think it could happen. >> look at this. it played out. >> it's so much better than i thought. >> cheryl: horseback riding,
swimming, smores by the campfires. they have all the usual summer camp activities but it's the campers that make this place so very special. >> taylor fly foundation take birthdays very seriously. we celebrate all of you because you are all that important to us. one, two, three --, ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ happy birthday to you [ applause ] >> birthdays means a sweet and delicious treat but to kids at the camp it could be a trip to the hospital. >> it doesn't allow me to eat gluten or meat. i found it i had a celiac. if i go to a party and they have cake, i usually have to bring my own donut and cake and cupcakes.
everybody else is having their big donuts with filling and everything, i have this little one. >> that cake was one of best cakes i ever had. >> this cake is 10.5. >> it's wonderful to see them on their face, some of them wind up crying and it's pretty exciting to watch. >> you look at this. >> you know. when i come out here on a daily basis, oh, yeah we have a camp. don't worry. i take someone on a tour and i watch their eyes grow. they say, how did you do this? people think i did it. i didn't do it. i took a lot.
>> one of the things people don't realize you have a lot of doctors and nurses that volunteer their time to be here. >> what did i say last time. what did they sound like? like horses, remember that? >> the kind of compassion that happens at the camp that doctors don't give anywhere else, they do it all free. >> i feel so lucky. i get to hang out with the kids. to go out and see them swimming or going up to the rock wall, i know what they really can do. >> being here as a camper and not a doctor, it must be amazing? >> it's really fun. it's really very cool to look around and see all the kids and counselors, to see them really empowered and being an example
for other families. >> it's really cool. >> to become counselors and take care of other kids, too. >> the counselors have the same type of differences they have, so we are a able to see them. they are in college or starting a new job. you kind of see for our kids how it translates later in life. >> to talk with other families and not feeling that we're alone. that is huge for us, too. >> they go through life with a sword over their heads, knowing not how they are going to live or next day something terrible is going to happen. it's very challenging and stressful and affects the entire family. >> i never imagined this. it was more about the kids needed a place where they could fit in and say, you are just like me. you are the same thing. there is nothing wrong with me and nothing wrong with you.
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>> i want to go down in history as, whoa, look what you did. i want to go down to history, all those kids that were helped. >> you were sitting in the lobby behind a newspaper, tell me what you want to do next? i said i really want to do this, know no you don't, you want to build a bocce court. >> here is the reason, one of the best reasons it's an ice breaker. it gets people to know each other. all you need to do is roll a ball. >> children mix and mingle immediately. they are so isolated. you get them out here. you let them play and let them have some laughs and let them envelope each other.
and then they become the resources for each other. this bocce court has been an ice breaker and great team building thing. we're all learning how to take care of better and how to give each other. >> they love the camping and love hearing about somebody, they have autism and they don't noe thousand deal with it. and we can put them together with another family who has done it with such a sense of pride for their child. it's about helping people. >> cheryl: you have an incredible person who is working alongside you? >> i do. they are like the executive director. i think what i love most about her, she gets it. she is great business executive and she is great manager of
people. she uses her heart to guide her to make it happen. if that was your child what would you do. if that was your mom. if that was your family. >> cheryl: you sound like peas in a pod. >> yes. she says yes to anything and i figure out how we are going to pull it off. >> when it comes to kids, all we want to do is say yes. when it comes to the family all we want to do is say yes. we have to work for it and work on it. as a group that is what we do good. we really are good at building relationships and finding the right resources and connecting the families to what they need. >> i don't think they ever told me know about anything. let's think about that. how can we make that happen?
every single person through the foundation. >> we are looking to our community what else we can help. what is going on? not just in the tri-valley but our whole range is northern california. we cast a wide net, there is still so many people that don't know what we do. >> we didn't even know about camp arroyo. we have been bay area residents for 18 years. it was all here all the time and we didn't know about it. >> there are families that need us. i wanted them to know. i can really support their needs. >> to know your community is there and taylor foundation is out to help you. that is what we need. >> this is kind of help that lasts and is powerful for family and kids to be here.
>> cheryl: that lasting effort takes a lot of work and a lot of heart and lot of money. >> kids that have very difficult time getting away and getting to summer camp and figure out a way. they haven't had that experience. >> 49er quarterback steve young talks about the importance of the taylor family foundation when j
wanted to be associated, but she got to show he what they are doing and it's really cool. there is a labor of love. when you are all in, it's kind of neat. hall of famer, steve young is one of many celebrities in the bay area committed to helping the taylor family foundation and camp arroyo. >> is this a dream come true? >> it is a dream come true. when we started with all those kids and social programs and clinical programs, never for a moment this will be a lifelong endeavor. this was a lot of work and forever but forever is a good thing when you have kids that
need it. camp is going on the 14th year and things need to be repaired and restored. we need to be there to help service them when they have other needs outside of camp. taylor family foundation is synonymous with camp arroyo. >> cheryl: but you provide other services? >> there are families that use transportation and could use help with their rent because of medical bills. or we have somebody that needs help with college to get they will in the door. >> we cover a lot of funerals. we have done it since date we started. >> we probably have 3,000 kids through camp. we have probably helped more now closer to 80,000 families in the bay area. >> cheryl: 80,000 families, wow!
>> taking all the resources of family and based on all the money and kids can have this to come to. they are not even -- enough to pay for them to come. i'm very thankful to the taylor family foundation. >> by giving to the taylor family foundation, they allow those things that others might take for granted. ry special things. >> it's all about the children here. it costs a lot to keep this rolling and to provide the camp for these kids that have no opportunity to do anything like this. >> it costs a million dollars every year. >> it doesn't cost a million dollars this year. >> i'm continually to be amazed. >> i hope that other families that have special needs to have an experience like this. it needs to be available to
other families. >> to see the children and see what a difference it makesing in the lives of these children and. >> it really is an amazing experience. >> i wish we had a taylor family foundation everywhere. the work they do is very real and gratifying to know. elaine was showing me pictures 20 years ago. i love that feeling i was associated with such a good group of people. >> it's the army of people behind me of donors and generous people and volunteers and counselors and community-wide from politicians to fire departments and our partners. nothing would happen without them. what they can expect will be dazzled by how magical this facility is, how many people have come through this facility.
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[ roars ] ♪ [ roars ] ♪ [ roars ] ♪ [ male announcer ] universal studios summer of survival. ♪ >> abc7 is proud to bring you the inspirational stories of families once in crisis now full of relief and hope. with the taylor family foundation's help. in our special program called just like me. >> the second we get in they put her in a bed, take me away and tell me that they're 99% sure it was cancer. >> you're healthy now. and are you happy that you are healthy? >> yes.
>> nobody can prepare you for being told your daughter has a brain tumor. >> now which arm are you serving better with now? the one that doesn't work so well? >> that is amazing. >> by my early teenage years i would be that wheelchair full time and i was kind of like what about my sweet 16. the fact there is whole organization that dedicates themselves to helping people with diseases and chronic illnesses, this is amazing. >> i'm here at camp arroyo where 3,000 kids come every year with life-threatening illnesses and life altering conditions and they can be here with kids who just like them. taylor family foundation makes it happen but they do so much more. >> can you say thank you taylor
family? >> thank you taylor family. >> what flavors? [ laughter ] >> one of the things i love about camp arroyo and taylor family foundation, you do much more than camp. >> we do camp and we run 3,000 kids through here. it's fabulous. they come and get to be their own person and not defined by their illnesses, but they known they go home and then they have other situations. we have an urgent need program. and when families are really in a state of crisis and don't know where to turn, we work with the families to help them through the times of crisis that they couldn't get through. this izzy is one of our sent fund girls who has a very rare condition. it's her ability to do things is going to drop off. >> it will get worse eventually and i will have to be a
wheelchair full time. eventually i may not be able to write. eventually i might not be able to talk. you know, all this stuff could go wrong. >> what happened? >> okay, ready? >> i'm dealing with it. >> they call it f.a.for short, a rare progressive muscular disease. >> the main problems is loss of coordination and balance, fatigue. >> she can't walk without assistance anymore. that was probably the hardest thing for me to see. >> i either crawl or i kind of lean on things or i butt down or my mom helps me. >> f.a.is an inherited disease,
izzy's mom and dad both carry the gene. her 8-year-old brother owen has it too but his symptoms are slight for now. >> i think there is no one in our town with f.a.. >> a family friend familiar with the taylor family foundation suggested the penstons reach out for a bit of support. >> to watch these parents from the outside, all you want to do is get in front and help them and cushion the fall and reach out to them and see if if they've really spoken to everyone or see if they everything they need. >> i met one day and i told her about izzy and owen. she told me about wonderful organized. a lot of our families have rare diseases around sometimes you have to travel to go to a doctor or something. she says we can help you with that.
>> cheryl: that is exactly what they did. they 74 the family travel to philadelphia to learn more about the disease and be with others just like them. >> it was really important to see other families and other people in person who are dealing with the the same thing. >> now, we know we aren't like alone in this battle. >> i can't imagine being that family and having no one to reach out to and by going there and not only do the kids get to meet kids like themselves, just like me, the parents got to get just a plethora of information of how they are going to manage. >> it was a great trip. we probably would not have gone if they hadn't helped us. >> right now izzy is able to walk up and down the steps but it is getting harder. there will be time in our near future where we'll need to
either install a ramp or some kind of lift. >> the taylor family foundation has graciously told us that they would help us pay to make home modifications when that time came. that was a huge, huge deal for me because i was already thinking, you know, how are we gonna pay for this. knowing that we have more support now than just our immediate family, that's really good. it's nice to just have someone to help you when you need it. >> as a parent of kids who are sick and knowing what that entails and how much worry and stress that can put on your family, the fact that there is an organization out there that can take some of that stress off of you is huge. >> some days are easier than others, sometimes it's hour by
hour, minute by minute. you just try to stay in the now and try to stay positive. >> it's a family who they have to live in the moment. they have no choice but to live in the moment. we want to do to support them so if we can help them do that, that is critically important to me. >> the next important venture for the taylor family foundation. ♪ >> music therapy, it's benefits and children will help but first. when you hear she can't go home right away, my god, what is happening? >> and then i started crying, mom, i don't want to do this. >> meet a fremont family that faced a scary situation. ♪
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transportation, rented costs, school books to making sure that they sara jones, making sure they could get her home to get her to the hospital she needed to be at. >> 12-year-old sara jones went to texas for a 4th of july celebration in 2012. >> she was typical pre-teen, just like all of us going on family vacations and she was having weird symptoms. >> we were like at a diner having lunch and then my legs and my right arm started going numb and i told my mom, she was all like well, it's different but we'll keep an eye on you. it was like scary but i don't remember anything after that. >> i could see the side of her face, it was drooping and her mouth was drooping. i knew something was wrong, definitely something was wrong. >> mom and dad rushed sara to the emergency room. >> sara has a brain tumor and --
we just -- we didn't know. i literally fell to my knees and we didn't know what to do at that point. our minds were running like crazy. what are wree going to do now? next thing we know she was having a brain surgery. sara's tumor was the size of an egg sitting on her brain stem. >> we were sitting in the hospital room to let the family know what was going on. >> i was seeing were concerning and lots of please, pray for us and we're doing a scan now. i thought, something is really wrong. >> the jones family has worked with the taylor family foundation for years generously donating money and volunteering
at annual day in the park fund-raiser. >> we said jonathan, how week help you. >> i let them know, can we help find them a place to stay. we didn't want them to worry about it. we want them to focus on sara. what they needed was a safe way to get sara back home. >> we took everything we had in savings to make this trip work and it was totally unplanned. we had enough money to get there and get ourselves back. >> we never imagined finding ourselves in this situation how are we going to get her home. anger describe was an angel, just came out of nowhere. >> they spent days trying to find a donor with a private plane. when that didn't pan out, they settled for a non-packed minimal stop commercial flight. >> the doctors approved the flight so we were able to pay for their flights home and then once they touched down at home
we made sure that they had a car to then pick them up at the airport and shuttle them home. >> it was like you said, she was just an angel. that showed up at the right time and just took a huge weight off my shoulders. it was a relief. all we wanted to do was get her home and have her sleep in her own bed and be surrounded by her friends and it was just an answer to our prayers. >> cheryl: the tumor is gone but sara is still dealing with few physical challenges. >> my whole right side was affected because the tumor was on the left side so i can't like reach straight if you look at my arm. it's like, it will shake and i have really bad balance. this avid volleyball and soccer player refused to let anything stop her from a full recovery. >> whoa! whoa!
>> we're glad everyone is healing and getting back to normal. >> the taylor family foundation helping us when we had been trying to help them. it was humbling, it was phenomenal. >> it was a big help. >> we owe them so much and we can never pay them back for what they've done for us. >> it was meant to be. it was a connect the dots. i have said that from the first just like me. >> it usually stems from what we're doing here at camp is how we meet these families and how it happens. >> we're just really trying to help them get through the moment because in that moment it's that family. it's that family that needs us the most. >> we'll introduce to this family that had such a moment with the taylor foundation's help and how some sweet surprises for this sweet
>> over the course of these 23 years we have done this with probably 80,000 families in some way or another. whether it becomes camp or we help them because they can't get their rent paid or they need their funeral paid for children or grand children. >> it's called the urgent need program.e can step in and help. it's really something that we feel is a gift but not like a gift like, oh, thank us for it. i don't want that. it's a gift to help them get
through that pressure. >> i can't tell you how many times we hear about something and contact the families versus versus the families hear about us and contact us. >> like the martinez family. >> he was born at 11:32 on tuesday and by friday there was a social worker in the hospital and told me how can we help. >> this is esau, three years ago he was born critically ill. >> it was very traumatic delivery and we were worried. thisrushed him off to the corner and started working on him. he was blue and without oxygen and he was having seizures, had some abnormal brain activity and he could be in the hospital for week oregon months. >> he ended up staying in the hospital for six weeks. >> i could the a call from the co-worker and they want to give you a grant. they asked how much do you make
in a month and we'll give you that much money. >> marty and sara martinez both work at tailor made water systems out of concord. that is the company barry taylor founded in 1998. >> i knew who they were. they allowed mow me to stay home with him for four more peeks weex than i planned and get that bonding time. it was like a prayer being answered. >> more people can feel more comfortable approaching because that is what we do. we're here for this. >> i think the camp programs are great and i love them and we will always do them but helping people in that kind of stress is just a beautiful gift for them, for us, for everybody. >> what do you think the secret is to making good cupcake? >> frosting. >> this is amira. her battle against leukemia
began at age 3. doctors say amira won that fight as of 2012. >> i'm a cancer survivor. >> it's a really difficult battle merely, physically, financially. i know several families that elaine and her foundation have touched in many different ways. >> amira and her family credited the taylor family foundation for helping them through the toughest three years of their lives. >> it was difficult. it felt like taylor foundation was our family. they gave us resources. they made sure she was well taken care of financially. merelyly. they were wonderful support for us. >> they suggested the hutcherson visit the children's cancer group at camp aroyo. >> my hair fell out.
>> elaine asked her what was wrong and said i wanted to ride the horses. they are all gone for today but i'll make sure you can ride a horse soon. >> short of getting a horse, we need to get her in lessons. it happened during her chemotherapy and something to look forward to every week. >> that really changed a lot for amila because it was taken a toll on her. it was giving hear new lease on life. >> then came the day last summer when doctors told amira she was cancer free. >> around that time, elaine taylor offered to do a survivor party for her. she cancer survivor. she is a briat, beautiful girl. [ laughter ] >> ask me what the taylor
♪ >> through the act of making music. it's more than engaging verbally. ♪ ♪ >> things get so bright and see her singing the songs, it's amazing. >> it's one of the programs is music therapy for kids and also to take it to camp. >> our goal i hope with music therapy number one is really give the kids a new inspiring way to communicate and number two is to get it out there to camp and have additional programs for kids that let them feel joy and hope and allow them to express themselves. ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ feeling happy today because my dog ♪ >> 15-year-old diana has been fighting a cancerous brain tumor since 2009 spending months at a time inside children's hospital in oakland for treatment. >> being in one hospital for so long, i just think it really wears on everyone. >> music, art, play, dance, all of those things are important if not more important as the role the hospital plays as far as medically in their condition and their recovery. >> i know what the horse program does for the kids. i know what the program does for the kids but this music thing unlocks their brain.
it's another program we can offer, there are 3,000 but also something we can take to the hospital when the kids are really not well. when they need something in their lives. >> music therapy is going to do that. >> taylor family foundation has joined a band of music therapy supporters to make that happen. it includes children's hospital oakland and long time foundation supporters in the music industry greg and laura perloff with another planet entertainment. they experienced the benefits of music therapy after it helped their son recover from a stroke in 1. >> 2001. >> there are children with huge anxiety issues being done and the music therapy really helps. >> they bring out the kids's
ability to improve at a much faster rated than they would without this program. >> i think this is very exciting collaboration and a perfect fit between the goals of the music therapy program here at children's hospital and those of the taylor family foundation. we use it in the grief camps at lot and seeing the kids to be able to talk to each other and use music as a vehicle to do that. to me, it's one of the most important things we're going to add at camp in this next decade. >> what do you need from the public? >> it's all about funding. there are the instruments and cost of the therapists and get the muse get the van to get the music therapist around. but we'll make it happen. >> just like the taylor family foundation has figured out how to help so many children and their families for more than two decades.
>> thousands of families are very grateful to what you have done. >> and there are thousands of families that needed it. at the end of my life, when i look back, i will have a heart the size of a giant and i will have a head filled with [ female announcer ] this is a special message from at&t. [ male announcer ] it's no secret that the price of things just keeps going up. [ female announcer ] but we have some good news. it's our bundle price promise. [ male announcer ] a price you can definitely count on for two whole years. from at&t. call now for a new low price. choose a u-verse triple play bundle for just $79 a month. get the same great price for two years. [ female announcer ] switch today and get a $150 promotion card. [ male announcer ] you get reliable high-speed internet on our advanced digital network. choose from speeds up to 24 megs. [ female announcer ] and with u-verse tv, you can record four shows at once on your total home dvr and play them back in any room. [ male announcer ] so call now. choose a u-verse triple play bundle for just $79 a month. get the same great price for two years,
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