EMPIRE- Campers wrapped up their last day at Camp Promise at Rocky Mountain Village in Empire Thursday. The camp is dedicated to providing children living with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases a place to have fun and build confidence.
Camp Promise was founded by the Jett Foundation and runs three separate week-long camps across the country. The camp recently merged with the local Romito Foundation, founded by Richard Romito, to provide more funding and support for Camp Promise in Colorado.
Richard Romito is a local police officer. Three of his four children have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
DMD is one of many types of muscular dystrophy. It's passed down from an X-chromosome carried by the mother. The disease affects mostly boys, who are diagnosed in early childhood. Children with DMD experience progressive muscle weakness. Life expectancy is late teens to mid-20s.
When Romito's second son was diagnosed, he was told there was no cure for the disease.
"That was one thing the doctors said… there's nothing we can do," Romito said. "You need to take him home, love him and provide him the best quality of life you can. And I took that to heart and the only thing I could think of that I could do…was to start a camp to improve my children's quality of life."
Romito's determination to provide his sons with the best quality of life turned into the Romito Foundation, which raises money for a cure and provides yearly outings to sports events for Colorado children living with DMD. The biggest event of the year is Camp Promise of the Rockies.
Many of the campers are wheelchair-bound. The camp allows the boys to experience activities in an accessible way. They can zip-line, swim, fish, and do arts and crafts in a safe environment, free of judgment. Romito says the most important thing is that campers gain independence and confidence in themselves.
Families living with DMD need special accommodations such as ramps and elevators as the disease progresses. The Jett Foundation helps families like the Romito's get the housing accommodations they need. To learn more visit http://bit.ly/1rxgw6D.
If you want to learn more about the Romito Foundation visit http://www.romitofoundation.org/.
For more information on Camp Promise visit https://camppromise.org/index.php.