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Naperville's giving spirit

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Naperville is known for its generosity, its willingness to help others less fortunate. We were reminded of this when we received a message recently from a Naperville native who is doing something good to help others. So we offer her a chance to talk about what she's doing, and what you could do to help.

This comes to us from Kate Sigel, whose blog is at http://xmaiziex13.livejournal.com. She talks about helping out at a camp for kids with muscular dystrophy, and more about that can be found here: http://xmaiziex13.livejournal.com/2008/02/21/

Here's the nice piece of writing Kate sent to us, from her blog:

'character is what you are in the dark'

sometimes, you get the chance to do something that you know will change you forever.

yesterday, i got home physically tired, and emotionally drained, but feeling better than i ever have.

i had the opportunity to volunteer as a counselor at a summer camp for MDA, or muscular dystrophy association. (for those of you who don't know what md is, it's a neuromuscular disease that basically works like this: for you or i, when we lift weights or use our muscles for everyday things, they get bigger and stronger. but for kids with md, the use of the affected muscles breaks them down. there are several different varieties.) the idea behind the camp is to make this the best week of these kids' lives. for one week they can hang out with friends, get dirty, do things that are tailored just for them, and totally fit in.

throughout the week, there were different activities for the kids: dances, kissing raids (where the volunteers would all gather after the kids had gone to bed – most of them only pretending to sleep - smear on lipstick, and rush into the cabins, whooping and waving flashlights, give each camper a kiss on the cheek, and run back out again to giggles and screams of 'encore!'), friendship dinners (where the campers would ask the volunteers to be their date, making them presents and getting dressed up for the event), dances, karaoke, basketball tournaments, food fights, water chugging contests, an "ugly counselor" pageant.....they loved it. anything we could do to get a smile or give them a story to tell when they got home.

at closing ceremonies, the kids made wishes on balloons, and released them into the sky. none of these kids wished for cd's or games or trivial things. they wished for things like to be able to walk, for a cure for md, that their new best friend would make it to camp again. when they took turns at the microphone to say what camp meant to them, one 13 year old girl said that most of the year, she feels bad about herself, and gets very sad. but she remembers her friends at camp and remembers that they'll always be there for her, and the weeks she spends at camp are the best of her life. and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when one little girl broke into tears explaining just how special she felt that week.

i never knew the swell of pride i'd feel for the little girl who, usually wheelchair-ridden with leg braces, walked all the way to the mess hall for dinner. or the immense sadness knowing that some of the kids who were able to walk this year would probably be in a wheelchair the next time i saw them. or that some might not make it to next summer.

from the little 7 year old girl who, when her 'date' for the friendship dinner got up, turned to me and said, "ok he's gone. now we have a minute alone...let's talk about steve" (her date), to the 12 year old boy who has more maturity and respect for women than most guys twice his age. i fell in love with these kids.

these are the bravest kids i've ever met.

these are the kids who are the recipients of the make a wish foundation.

these are the kids who, unknowingly, became my role models.

they are some of the most amazing kids i've ever met. ever.

it's an amazing feeling, knowing that you made a real difference in someone's life. knowing that, even if for just a week, you made it a little better. i have so much respect for the people who do this day in and day out, who give everything of themselves for these kids. they are true heroes.

this was the most important thing i've done in my life up to this point. and all i can say is that i'm so lucky i got the chance to do it.

it took me until i was 21 to be able to think of someone i'd title my hero. the usual hero that comes to mind is of someone larger than life. someone who accomplishes extraordinary feats that you or i could only dream of doing. someone infallible and invincible. it isn't often that one gets to come face to face with their heroes, let alone realize the true impact that they make upon them.
at 22, i was able to experience this again. at 23, I was reminded how incredible these kids are.
this is why i'm the luckiest girl in the world

my heroes have unfailing smiles. they remain positive in situations where i might break. they are stronger than anyone i know.

they are daring and witty and charming.
they are not invincible. rather, determined and patient.
they taught me that hearing the words, "i'm proud of you" is the single greatest compliment one can recieve.
they taught me that it's ok to be silly and goofy because, well, why not?
they showed me what it is to have my heart swell with pride to see them accomplish some small challenge.
they let me see what true strength really is.

throughout the week i was humbled and amazed more times than i could count. i wouldn't trade this in for anything.

to the kids who let me be a part of their lives even just for this short time, thank you. to the parents and people who give care to these kids day in and day out....you are truly incredible and i have utmost respect for you.

these are my true heroes.

And this is the invitation i've been sending out to the event:

You are invited!

*What: Charity Dinner for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Summer Camp
*When: Tuesday, March 11, 6pm
*Where: Bistro 110 restaurant (110 E. Pearson St, Chicago, IL)
$150 per person minimum donation (tax deductable)
*seating is limited

~Fresh Baguettes served with our signature Oven-Roasted head of Garlic

~A variety of our signature Bistro 110 appetizers will be served

First Course
~ Butternut Squash Soup drizzled with Truffle Oil

~Fricassee of Chicken served over a bed of Creamy Polenta, complimented with a Morel Cream Sauce
*dinner will be served with a selection of complimentary wine pairings

~Signature Bistro 110 dessert

Bistro 110 is hosting a charity dinner on March 11, 2008 in order to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual summer camp for children with Muscular Dystrophy.

The event will feature wine, appetizers, and a three-course fixed menu prepared by Chef Dominique Tougne. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the MDA, specifically for the summer camp they host every summer for children between the ages of 6 and 13 who have Muscular Dystrophy. As the MDA sends the kids to camp, the number of kids able to attend is contingent upon the amount of funds raised for the MDA. We would love for you to join us for this event in order to enable more children to attend the camp.

To RSVP, send the form (found below) and a check made out to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, memo Bistro 110

addressed to:
Kate Sigel (MDA)
1100 North Dearborn, suite 703
Chicago, IL 60611

RSVP's must be received by Wednesday, March 5 2008. Please note that seating is limited, and will be designated on a first come, first served basis. You will receive an email confirmation that your check was received and a reservation is being held for you.

Receipts for donations will be sent out upon delivery of check.
Please let us know if you need any accessibility accommodations.
For any questions or concerns, please contact Kate Sigel at katesigel@gmail.com.
For more information about the MDA summer camp, go to http://www.mda.org/clinics/camp/

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This is a great example of the kind and generous people a town like Naperville can foster. Bravo! I already sent the camp an email notifying them of my donation. Go Kate!

A definate reason why I moved back to Naperville where I grew up.

Now this is the type of story I would like to read with my cup of coffee in the morning. Could I see this story on page 1 PLEASE.

Moderator Jim: We've done plenty of them and will continue to do so. Thanks.

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on February 27, 2008 10:56 AM.

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