Coltyn Runyon has difficulty speaking and relies on a wheelchair to get around.
But that didn't keep the 10-year-old Nebraska City boy from shooting a bow and arrow, fishing, dancing and singing around a campfire earlier this month at Camp YouCan.
That's exactly the goal of the two-day, overnight camp, which was held at YMCA Camp Kitaki near Louisville, Neb. Sept. 7-8. Coltyn and about 30 other kids and young adults with epilepsy were able to escape the reality of having a seizure at any time to focus on fun.
Meg Busing, a 30-year-old Omaha woman who lived with epilepsy for more than 10 years, started Camp YouCan last year because she knows living a life with a "don't do" attitude can get tiresome.
She said people with epilepsy are told not to drive, not to swim and not to carry a child in fear that a seizure could come at any time.
But with medical professionals on standby, campers with epilepsy ages 7- 21 were able to ride a zip line, take on a ropes course, climb a rock wall and participate in other team-building activities.
“This camp allows them to be in a safe environment with nurses around, but to do things that they've never ever done before," Busing said.
For Coltyn Runyon that meant firing a bow and arrow for the first time and fishing for hours at a lake.
"(Coltyn) experienced a lot of things that he doesn't normally get to do," said his mother Chris Runyon.
Most campers leave with new friendships, too.
Leo Pluhacek, a 21-year-old first-time camper from Omaha, said he plans to keep in touch with friends he met at Camp YouCan by starting an online group for the campers so they can plan meetups.
Building a support system is one of Busing's goals with the camp. When working at a cancer camp in California, she realized the impact a camp could have on kids who have epilepsy.
Busing developed epilepsy after a car accident in 1998. Two years ago, she had surgery to remove a portion of her brain, and has been seizure-free ever since.
"It's kind of been a whole new second chance at life, so I thought time to conquer that and do everything that I can," she said.
With the help of her husband, Kael Busing, a non-profit group called LIFE (Lifestyle Innovations for Epilepsy) and sponsorships from local businesses, Busing, a school nurse, has been able to offer an outlet for kids and teens with epilepsy.
Last year's camp was a one-day event and cost $35. This year, the camp extended to an overnight stay for $80, allowing the camp to spread out the events and add more activities and group discussions.
More than 20 campers had costs covered by sponsorships from local businesses, Busing said.
She said some of the medical professionals who staff the camp are paid, but most of the people involved are volunteers.
Busing said the camp is a team effort, and she's pleased with what she has been able to accomplish in just two years.
She said Camp YouCan has attracted families from as far away as Des Moines, Iowa. She's hoping her camp reaches even further next year.
At first, some parents are a little worried about the prospect of their child on a zip line, but most come away thrilled that their child can enjoy the excitement of being just another kid at camp.
"Parents freak out when they see the pictures," Busing said. "Not out of fear, but freak out like, 'Oh my gosh, my child did this while they were at this camp.'"
An earlier version of this story contained a photo cutline that incorrectly spelled the name of Cedric Moxey.