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Nadrich sisters feel the magic of Double H Ranch

Double H Ranch is a camp for children who are dealing with serious illnesses. Thanks to the camp’s amazing medical staff, Double H gives children who cannot attend conventional sleep-away camps due to medical issues a chance to go away, have fun, and be just like any other child. Just ask Susan and Mike Nadrich and their daughters, Madeline and Tyler.

“It’s one of the most amazing places. It’s magical,” said the East Amherst, NY mom.

Madeline (Maddie) and Tyler are six-year Double H Ranch camp veterans, and they can’t wait to go back this year.

Maddie, 13 (right), has a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease and hypogammaglobulinemia. Tyler, 16, has some Mito symptoms. Both girls have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

“The girls enjoy having a chance to be away from home and meet new friends at camp,” said Susan. Each child gets something different out of camp. “Maddie, who has to go to bed early and take naps due to her Mito, doesn’t feel alone at camp, since there are others just like her there.

“For Tyler, it’s a whole six days that she gets to just have fun. It’s her chance to be herself and not be responsible for anyone else,” said Susan, who relies on Tyler to help with Maddie and around the house.

Maddie has a wheelchair, but she doesn’t always use it, because she doesn’t want to be different from her friends. “But at camp, she can let her guard down, tell people how she feels, and use her wheelchair,” Susan said.

According to Maddie, camp gives her “the sense that you’re not alone. You can still have fun no matter what your illness is.”

One of Maddie’s favorite things at camp is the giant swing. “I usually go all the way to the top. You just go flying,” she said.

Last year, she also loved making one of the camp counselors lick a tree … three times! “The camp counselors go to extremes to keep the campers happy,” said Susan. “The counselors make sure the kids feel special, that their illnesses don’t define them.”

That camp feeling stays with Maddie year-round. “I love it so much, I think about it all the time.” Maddie will go to camp every year she can, join the alumni program, then hopefully become a counselor in training.

Maddie stays in touch with all her camp friends throughout the year. She’ll wake up to text messages every morning from them.

Tyler (center, wearing glasses) calls her camp experience amazing. “Every year it’s amazing. I never get bored by it. I’ve made a lot of long-term friends. I love meeting new kids each year. The first year I met a girl and we’ve been friends ever since. We always try to get the same sessions.”

Camp has allowed Tyler to step out of her comfort zone. “I walk up to people and talk to them instead of waiting for them to talk to me.” A typical example of that happened this year when Tyler saw a girl using sign language. Tyler went up to her and started signing with her. The girl was thrilled, telling Tyler that she made her whole week.

At the Lake Luzerne, NY camp, everyone is family. “You’re automatically family even if you don’t know people. It’s very accepting. Everyone is normal at Double H Ranch. There are no boundaries once you go to Double H. It’s nice to carry that into school,” Tyler said.

Double H Ranch ( is part of the SeriousFun Network ( of camps whose mission is “to create opportunities for children and their families to reach beyond serious illness and discover joy, confidence and a new world of possibilities, always free of charge.” 

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