Matthew Salem Camp
Board of Trustees
Matthew Salem Camping Foundation, Inc. (MSC), was founded in 1967 to honor the life of Matthew Salem, who lost his battle with cystic fibrosis when he was just a young boy. MSC provides a week-long residential summer camp experience for children ages 6-16 with special needs who would not have the opportunity otherwise.
Matt Salem was born with cystic fibrosis – a life-threatening illness that affects the lungs and digestive system. At a very young age, he became a regular patient at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH, the premier site for cystic fibrosis treatment and research.
At Rainbow, Matt developed a close relationship with one of his respiratory therapists. While being treated, he often talked to his therapist about his desire to go to camp. Due to his illness, attending a “normal” children’s camp was out of the question given his medications and constant treatment. Matt’s story inspired the therapist, along with two of his friends, to start a camp for children with cystic fibrosis. Sadly, Matt died before the first camp took place.
While during its first few years the camp attracted fewer than 10 participants, it has grown considerably. At its largest the camp ran two week-long sessions, hosting approximately 60 children with cystic fibrosis and other chronic respiratory diseases at each session. The staff, comprised entirely of volunteers, includes two full-time nurses who provide the care these children need to be away at camp. Over the years, Matthew Salem Camping Foundation, Inc. has found that there are many more children who need special medical attention in order to enjoy a successful camping experience. As a result, the camp has recently opened its arms to welcome and accommodate children with a wide variety of special needs, including, but not limited to, sickle cell anemia, scleroderma, Down Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, ADHD, and asthma. MSC provides these children with an opportunity to meet others with similar needs and be a part of an accepting group of caring people.
Over the last 50 years, MSC has provided a summer camping experience for at least 2,000 children. The MSC board and dedicated volunteers are committed to continuing this tradition of providing a place for children with special needs to create memories that will last a lifetime.
President & Executive Director - Michelle Brown, Buckeye Partners
Vice President - Fred Montague, CWRU
Treasurer - Mary Ann Niemczura, Retired
Recording Secretary - Amy Milroy, Waiting Child Fund
Corresponding Secretary - Katie Fagan, Molina Healthcare
John Volny, Enterprise Welding
Shawn Yuhas, VA Hospital
Melissa Wenzler, Thomas & Betts
Kelly Waddell, Jr. - University Hospital Elyria Medical Center