An Over The Wall Camper Story: Meet Matthew
After having a serious allergic reaction to egg at 10 months old, Matthew was diagnosed with having multiple complex allergies. As well as having various food allergies, Matthew’s reactions could also be triggered by touch and through airborne and environmental allergens.
“Childhood for Matthew has not been without it’s challenges, and the limitations of having allergies have certainly had a significant impact on him.” said Matthew’s mum Louise. “Matthew has now learnt to manage his allergies well, but having had severe allergies to things like egg, if another child touched cake, and then a surface, such as a toy, and then Matthew picked it up, he could have a reaction.”
Naturally, Matthew’s allergies caused him anxiety, and he had very few opportunities to socialise with friends outside of school such as have sleep overs and do other normal things like attend birthday parties.
When he was 8, Matthew’s paediatric allergy consultant told his Mum that Over the Wall provided a camp for children with severe multiple allergies. The family applied and Matthew attended his first camp. “We were so impressed – Over The Wall catered for every individual child’s allergy so that the children could enjoy themselves without any worry. Matthew had an absolutely fantastic time.”
Matthew attended two camps and was scheduled to attend camp again in 2020. However, the Covid-19 outbreak meant all camps were cancelled.
In response to the camp closures, Over The Wall created an interactive online platform designed specifically for the children who were scheduled to attend camp in 2020. The aim was to bring, the joy and magic of the physical camps into each family’s home.
Camp in the Cloud
“Obviously Matthew was really looking forward to camp but understood why it had to be cancelled. When he discovered there was a virtual alternative, he was really excited, especially when the box arrived. There were things you couldn’t uncover or open until later and this created a huge sense of anticipation.”
“From day one, Matthew was so excited to have the opportunity to unveil all the wonderful activities, and what was really wonderful about Camp in the Cloud was that he could make contact with children he had previously met at allergy camp. On his first camp, he met a friend from South Wales – they had remained in contact and have written to each other from when Matthew was 8. Camp in the Cloud gave them the opportunity for them to reconnect remotely. He really enjoyed having those cabin chats. We would set the room up, just like it was at the normal camps, making it all cosy – so it really felt like he was back at camp.”
“He also loved the activities. We had a huge marble run in the lounge for quite a while! He also enjoyed the escape room box and later on, was very pleased to receive a card and beads to mark his achievements, which happened to be delivered on his birthday – he was over the moon with that.”
“During the first coronavirus lockdown our youngest child was on the shielding list. We had 3 months where we only went out for a walk, so having Camp in the Cloud was a really lovely thing just for Matthew. It was especially for him, and he really valued that.”
“It was very special and positive to have something so different to do at home with so many well thought out activities. Matthew definitely benefited from Camp in the Cloud. He came out of it feeling quite buoyant and full of life. It gave him a lot of fun, and he had a really interesting and different weekend.”