From ages 5 to 18, with personalities and interest as varied as they come, our campers share two things in common: they have serious illnesses, and incredible spirits. They are the reason Flying Horse Farms exists, and the inspiration for everything we do.

ERYN

On Christmas morning in 1995, one lucky family received a gift of true love and happiness. They named her Eryn. Soon after Eryn’s birth, she was diagnosed with Hemoglobin SC, a form of Sickle Cell disease. For the first 5 years of her life, she remained symptom-free.

The last 10 years have been drastically different. Eryn has endured severe, chronic pain; she’s had her spleen removed and has been hospitalized many times. She has also experienced the loneliness and isolation of missing a year-and-a-half of school because she was too ill to attend.

But Eryn’s spirit is bigger than her illness. She’s gentle, kind, and witty. She loves cooking, animals, and art. And when she’s at camp? “You’re just a regular kid here. Not sick, not different,” says Eryn.

Before sending their daughter to a Hole in the Wall camp in upstate New York through the Flying Horse Away program, Eryn’s parents were apprehensive. They’d packed her up once before to attend church camp and she’d had to come home early because her illness flared while she was away.

Thankfully, Eryn didn’t have to come home from Flying Horse Away, since 24-hour medical care was available when she needed it. Arriving home after a week of fun, she greeted her parents with, “I really love you, but I really did not want to come home!”

“This was the first time we witnessed Eryn let her hair down and be a kid,” says her mom, Dorene. “The cloud of depression, sadness, and loneliness gave way to excitement—she had a new outlook on the world. She found a culture of hope that fed her soul.”

And hope changes everything. Right now there’s no cure for Eryn’s disease; however, she’s using her skills as an artist to create greeting cards to make a difference. With the proceeds from her sales, she’s funding research for Sickle Cell disease through The Eryn Powell Philanthropic Foundation and providing toys and gifts for children in the Hematology/Oncology unit of the hospital where she’s been a patient.