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.

NATALIA

If you don’t know Natalia Pozuelo, she may at first come off as shy. But spend a few minutes with her and she completely transforms: she’s funny, loves to laugh (a lot), and has a contagious zest for life.

She’s also a fighter. Just three months after she was born, Natalia began coughing and sneezing. As she got older, she started falling while walking, developed a heart murmur, and couldn’t swim.

By age 6, Natalia had been diagnosed with Hurler-Scheie Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes an enzyme deficiency and negatively affects all organs. Her parents, Ana and Leo, authorized long weekly treatments to replace the enzyme, but doctors soon discovered the treatments were becoming ineffective.

That’s when Natalia’s family turned to Duke Hospital in North Carolina.

“They told us we had three choices,” Ana says. “Do nothing, continue with enzyme replacement therapy, or try bone marrow transplant.”

In October 2008, Natalia’s brother, Carlos, donated his bone marrow for a successful transplant. A few months later, while she was recovering at the Cleveland Clinic, Natalia heard about Flying Horse Farms. Dr. Jerry Boyle asked her, “How would you like to go to camp? It’s not ready yet, but when it is, maybe you can go.”

Antsy from years of treatment and months of recovery away from school and friends, Natalia lit up like a firework.

She came to camp for the first time in July 2011. Ever since, Flying Horse Farms has been a major blessing to the Pozuelo family. “She goes there and has fun,” Ana says. “It’s that simple.”

Natalia also shares a special bond with her camp friends, who all talked about their illnesses one night.

“That was extremely important,” says Ana. “Natalia goes to a regular school and really can’t talk to her friends about her medical condition or what she’s going through. For her, going to camp and talking with other girls is very therapeutic.”

Natalia’s illness is steady for now, and camp lets her be her normal, fun-loving self. It gets her away from home, away from doctors’ offices, and immersed in life.

“It’s a happy place,” Ana says about Flying Horse Farms. “Natalia can choose what she wants to do without being questioned.”

Natalia has already completed her application for this summer, and can’t wait to return for more singing, fun, and making mustaches from colorful pipe cleaners.

We can’t wait to see Natalia again at Flying Horse Farms—a place her mom calls “a little piece of heaven.”