Winnebago County - "It doesn't make it any easier but it does eliminate some of the questions that we ask you know when you lose somebody that young," said Tina Severson on the passing of her seven year old grandson Gabriel Henze, who collapsed at Camp Winnebago this past June.
Initially, they thought he died due to issues with asthma, but just recently the coroner told Severson and Gabriel's family that he had multiple congenital heart defects."He had the two aorta's through the heart instead of the one," Severson said. The aorta is the body's main artery connected to the heart. The coroner said Gabriel could've gone at any time.
"It was a blessing that he was with us as long as he was and it could have lasted longer or he could have gone sooner," Severson said.
Gabe spent his final moments at Camp Winnebago. "He was ecstatic to be at camp, he was excited to go to camp everyday," said Gabe's cousin Dana Meads. Camp Winnebago will now have a scholarship in his honor. The goal is to have future campers who are entering in the third grade, just as Gabe was, spend an entire summer free of cost at the camp.
"Gabe would have been here for many summers, and in his absence what better way to remember Gabe than through the memories of another child," said Camp Winnebago District Executive Bif Buchan.
The grounds also will soon have a memorial bench with his picture engraved on it. "It will allow the families to recognize what it's there for, to take a second look and be more grateful for what they have right there at that moment," Severson said.
A fundraiser for the scholarship will be held on October 14th at the Applebee's on Alpine and Riverside. For campers interested, letters can be submitted to the Rock River Valley YMCA. The top ten letters will be given to Gabe's mother, who will then choose the scholarship recipient.
Information on the fundraiser and how you can donate can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/497025570658315/?active_tab=about.
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