Why I walk Woods to Waves: a reflection

Molly was nine years old the first summer we navigated the nonsensical road leading to St. Dorothy’s Rest. She was the recipient of a heart transplant at the age of 2 1/2 weeks, an impressive fact to everyone but Molly. She had grown up with a transplant, in her eyes she was just a kid with a few more medical concerns. She was looking forward to her first trip away from home. I was eyeing a house for sale, just past the entrance to St. Dorothy’s, and considering the possibility of buying it so I could hover nearby until camp was over.

She came back to us, changed in all the ways a good summer camp adventure could give a kid, and something more. St. Dorothy’s gave her what we couldn’t — a group of kids who knew her story because they were living it themselves. She formed lifelong friendships there, a web of support and companionship that extended far beyond what was begun during the camp season. She spent every summer there and then, when she was too old to be a camper, she returned for two summers to work as a counselor, some of the best times of her life.

In 2011, after 21 fantastic years with her, we lost Molly to complications following her second transplant procedure. Numb with grief, we gathered her happiest memories to console ourselves and found that so many of them centered in one way or another around St. Dorothy’s. A few months after we lost her we traveled to the camp to walk Woods to Waves in her memory. Shattered by grief, still trying to rebuild ourselves around the ragged hole left in our lives, we walked through the gates of St. Dorothy’s and into a circle of warm and caring people that took us in, shared our grief, and celebrated her life with us. The day we hiked Woods to Waves for the first time, although we didn’t know it then, was the day we too, became a part of St. Dorothy’s Rest.

When a place is loved for more than a hundred years, it begins to love back. We are one family with one child in a long history of children and families forever changed by the loving reach of St. Dotrothy’s Rest and the people who are drawn to it. I walk Woods to Waves every year now because I believe so strongly in the magic that grows at St. Dorothy’s and I will spend the rest of my life doing what I can to make sure that magic grows for generations to come.

Where: St. Dorothy’s Rest, 160 St. Dorothy Avenue, Camp Meeker
When: Saturday, May 7
Registration: Click here
Cost: $25
Donate: Click here