Gabriel Donovan is an 8th grade student at CBA, an enthusiastic camper at Double H Ranch, and a hero. Double H Ranch, located in Lake Luzerne, was founded by philanthropist Charles R. Wood and actor Paul Newman. Since opening in 1993, it has served over 60,000 children dealing with life-threatening illnesses from around the world. Double H Ranch serves children from ages 6-16, free of charge. Their purpose is to enrich the lives and provide camp experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound.
On October 18, Dr. Dennis McKenna ’84, Senior Vice President Medical Affairs and Medical Director at Albany Medical Center, and Double H Ranch Board Member spoke to Gabe’s 8th grade class about Double H Ranch. He touched on many aspects of this SeriousFun Camp, including the different programs they offer based on season, activities and games the campers play, and how to get involved.
Dr. McKenna invited Gabe to join him in front of his class allowing for students to ask Gabe questions. Some of the questions included, how long he has been a camper, how campers in the hospital get to enjoy camp activities, and what part of camp is his favorite. Gabe confidently answered every question. Gabe’s favorite part of camp is the Wish Boat Ceremony, a ceremony held at the end of camp where campers write their wishes on paper, put them on mini wooden sailboats and allow them to sail away in the lake, “This is the time when you realize you don’t want to leave,” Gabe noted.
Later, Gabe went on to tell about how the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted him one wish. Most children, rightfully so, wish to meet their favorite baseball player or go to Disney World, but Gabe is different.
Without hesitation, Gabe asked to improve the barn area at Double H Ranch where he had met his best friend who shared the same disease as him. The barn was not Gabe’s favorite place on the ranch, but he decided to use his wish to make his friend’s dream come true. “Gabe is selfless, he always thinks about others before he thinks of himself,” commented Mr. Roger Powers, Assistant Principal of the Middle School, “it took a lot of guts to get up in front of 93 of his classmates and teachers and show his affection for Double H Ranch. I am very proud of him.”
Gabe is only one of over 900 campers that enjoy their time at Double H Ranch each summer. Camp counselors and volunteers help to make Double H Ranch the great place is it today. The 8th grade class plans to visit Double H Ranch and help with fall clean up in the near future. To learn how to get involved, Click Here or contact Mr. Roger Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBA is honored to have welcomed back Dr. Dennis McKenna ’84. Dr. McKenna ’84 was the 2016 recipient of the LTC Todd J. Clark ’90 Memorial Service Award for exemplifying the Lasallian characteristics of service to others.