Young patient’s struggles softened by excitement over camp

Metchosin family gearing up for trip to Alberta for specialized outings

Oskar Wood and his mother

After he lost 25 pounds Oskar Wood was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He was only 11.

It was a tough time, recalls his mother, Vanessa Wood.

“There were many blood tests done,” she said.

But it wasn’t just Oskar’s blood they were testing. Wood said a diagnosis finally came after a colonoscopy. “It’s never easy, especially for a parent … at least it gave us confirmation for what was going on.”

Oskar was diagnosed in February of last year, but his trips to the doctors didn’t end there. “Last year he really struggled … He was on some pretty heavy duty drugs that weren’t working,” Wood said. After a lot of different trials, in December his doctors found a drug that seemed to work. “Now he travels every eight weeks to (B.C.’s) Children’s Hospital for an IV infusion,” she noted.

While Oskar still has to take some oral drugs, the goal is that eventually he will be weaned off them. The hope, Wood said, is that her son can stay on the new medication for as long as his body will allow. “We’ve heard of people being on it for eight or nine years,” she noted. “We’re at seven months now and he’s doing really well.”

The new medication has made all the difference for Oskar and his family. “It’s like he’s a normal kid again,” Wood said. “It’s really turned his life around.”

Oskar turned 13 last week, but he has something else to look forward to this month. On July 23, the Metchosin resident will fly to Alberta to spend a week at Camp Got2Go. It will be his first time attending an overnight camp.

But Camp Got2Go isn’t just an ordinary summer camp.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, with the support of Janssen Inc., created the camp to give children from across Canada living with those diseases a chance to attend a camp designed specially for them.

“It looks like any other camp, except they have medical care,” Wood said. “It makes me feel more comfortable as a parent knowing there is medical staff there.”

While Wood said Oskar is a relatively low-key camper, in terms of required medical care, she did note there will be a number of campers that require a range of different treatments and apparatuses, including feeding tubes.

“I feel great he is going to have this experience and be safe,” she added.

Oskar’s excitement was hard to hide.

When asked what he’s looking forward to about the camp, he said, “meeting other kids with the same disease and connecting with them.” He also has his eye on a ropes course and is looking forward to spending some time on the lake in canoes and kayaks.

When Oskar was diagnosed, Wood said, one of the first things they did was go to the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada website (crohnsandcolitis.ca). They immediately found a link to the camp.

“That was what put a positive spin on this thing for Oskar.” Seeing other kids having fun and playing gave them a lot of comfort during a difficult time. “It kind of made him feel like it wouldn’t be so bad,” Wood said. “There are opportunities for kids like Oskar to just be a kid.”

She urges other parents to check out the website and find out more about Camp Got2Go. It has already made a difference in their lives.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

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