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Redefining What’s Possible: Lessons From My Dad Paul Newman

Today, on the day my dad Paul Newman would’ve turned 98, I find myself reflecting on the notion of what’s possible. Everyone who knew and believed in my father’s vision of camp knew it was a special idea that could change lives.

More than 30 years later, I think even he would be surprised by how his dream continues to dramatically change not only the lives of kids with serious illness, but also their families, the clinicians who care for them, and the supporters who make it all happen.

I know he’d be proud of the many ways the SeriousFun experience redefines what’s possible:

  • Together, we’re now serving kids with 139 diagnoses and counting—including rare and serious conditions that cannot be served at other camps or programs.
  • The experience changes how kids perceive and care for themselves. Many adult alumni credit camp for their self-confidence and willingness to try new things. And within our Partner Programs, camp has led to a significant increase in adherence to life-saving medication for children with HIV and hope for the future!
  • The experience changes how communities care for kids, too. We hear from nurses and doctors, time and again, that our model of child-centric care fundamentally shifts the way they interact with and treat patients: as kids first.

When I think about all the naysaying and the “that’s never been done before” my dad came up against when he set out to found the first SeriousFun camp in 1988, it makes me appreciate his extraordinary resolve and generosity. Not to mention the positive change sparked by that resolve! It’s change that exists, today, because of you.

I cant think of a better birthday present for Dad than knowing what our global community has and continues to achieve together: building a world where every child with a serious illness can find the joy and inclusion they deserve.

Happy birthday, Pop, and thank you for showing us the way. “Possible” is only what we make of it. 

Miss you always,

Clea

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