BTN LiveBIG: Golden Gophers team up with heart patients for a day to remember
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The kids who go to Camp Odayin in Stillwater, Minn., all have one thing in common: They all suffer from some kind of heart disease or defect. In fact, that’s why the camp was founded — to give kids with heart issues the carefree summer experience they may not get otherwise.
But while they might not have a great deal of heart in the strictest physical sense, these children possess it in spades when it comes to facing challenges with courage and a positive outlook.
Student-athletes from the University of Minnesota — who know a thing or two about heart — see this firsthand every year when they travel about three hours’ distance from the Twin Cities to spend a full day at the camp.
“Being with these kids for a full day has been really impactful,” said Milica McMillen, a senior on Minnesota’s women’s hockey team. “They still have these positive attitudes and smiles on their face, [and] it’s really inspiring and impactful as a student-athlete.”
“I’ve learned a lot in about eight hours that I probably wouldn’t have learned just being at school and training,” McMillen said. “At the end of this day, I’ve been opened up to a whole new world.
“I will take this three-hour bus ride any day,” she added.
By Grant Rindner