When Lauren Bellflower was 20 years old, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Through various treatments and changes, Lauren found her way to Camp Oasis and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation as her means of support. Camp Oasis specifically lead Lauren to relationships with peers and with those younger than her battling similar health issues. She says, “Living with an incurable chronic illness can leave you joyless at times, but happiness and hope is something I have found with volunteering.”
Lauren works once a year at Camp Oasis as a counselor, helping with a week of activities and events for children who otherwise struggle to fit in and feel comfortable in their own skin. “We have campers (who) start out nervous. Some have never met anybody else with their disease or ever really talk about it,” says Lauren, speaking to the impact she sees in campers as they start to open up and create bonds with the counselors and with the other children. Lauren is going on her 7th year working with the camp.
Lauren also serves on Tennessee’s chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation as a board member, helping produce fundraising and education events to reach out to families and even doctors regarding these diseases and the progressing treatments. Lauren has found close friends and connections through her volunteer work, connections she says are “humbling” and have helped her to “learn about people and feel more compassion.” She says regarding both the camp and the foundation’s want for volunteers and outreach, “we want to talk about these diseases. They have been in the shadows for a long time.” Lauren Bellflower’s life brought her down a rough path full of decisions and challenges, but she has found strength and purpose through her volunteer work.
Lauren is named Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for her passion and heart for others. She and other volunteers like her are celebrated by Doing Good, a local 501c3 nonprofit which celebrates those who do good. For more information or to nominate someone for Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month, visit DoingGood.tv.
Doing Good is a 501c3 non-profit which provides marketing and public relations tools, resources, and opportunities to
non-profit and government agencies to celebrate their volunteers. www.DoingGood.tv