Chloe Abigail Schmidt has done everything to live up to her name and more, Vibrant and Full of Joy! She is a blessing to all those who come in contact with her, especially her family. Since the age of three, Chloe has been a below the knee amputee after losing her leg in an accident. What could only be viewed as tragic at the time, has been transformed into a “beauty from ashes” story! From the time Chloe was hospitalized after her accident, she has exceeded every expectation anyone has had for her. Never experiencing any infections or problems healing, Chloe walked on her knee immobilizer without a foot (faster than kids with two feet!) She took to her new way of life and prosthetic leg faster than anyone thought possible. Her accident was in July and by November she was walking and running!
One of the many difficult things we, as parents and Chloe herself experienced was the feeling of aloneness. No one outside family truly understood how we felt, how Chloe felt. We were totally clueless! We felt like we were groping our way in the dark…Where to go for her prosthetic care? What was the best design? What to do when she couldn’t walk heel to toe, What shoes to wear? How do you get Drs. to listen to you? What about skin care? The list of big and small questions were endless for us. Until one day we learned about an organization called Camp No Limits. Friends of ours, that we knew online who lived across the country had just attended the camp – came home and promptly told us we had to go! And so we did. Thankfully, we were very fortunate to have a Camp No Limits hosted at a camp in the same state we live in! This is not always the case, of course.
Our experience with Camp No Limits has been life changing for Chloe and for our entire family! For the first time since Chloe’s accident, we were surrounded by kids just like her and families going through the same things we were, who understood exactly how we felt! It was an overwhelming experience, I couldn’t stop the tears long enough to express how amazing it was! When I saw Chloe slip her prosthetic leg off in front of the group like it was no big deal, I knew we had come home.
The following year, we were encouraged by friends to attend the CNL camp in Maine. It took us two days to drive and an overnight in a hotel, which is costly but less expensive than flying. It was SO worth it!! At this camp, we met an even larger group of amputee kids and their families along with a huge support network of Prosthetists, Physical Therapists, and adult amputee mentors. Attending this camp, though farther away would change the course of Chloe’s life as well. She would go on to receive an improved design prosthesis and have her choice of 5 different feet! Every single time Chloe attends camp, she is inspired to try something new, branch out, be more confident in herself, be less self conscious, and to fully embrace the truth that she is so much more than her leg!!
To date, we have been blessed to travel to Camp No Limits ~ Maryland, Maine and Florida…also to the Never Say Never Foundation’s Pirate Camp in Florida. This year, we hope to attend even more if possible! Traveling to these various camps, opens up the wide world of unique possibilities for our girl! Unfortunately, it’s not just the cost of these camps but the traveling expenses are the biggest hurdle to overcome. As parents, we want to give Chloe the world – every single advantage we can because life is challenging enough for her as it is. We are so grateful for organizations like Giving to Fly…their passion to raise funds to eliminate the extra hurdle of travel expenses makes it possible for our kids to continue to thrive!
– Kari, Chloe’s mom