Quietly nestled on 84 acres of land in Randleman, NC, Victory Junction was created as a love and family filled tribute to fourth generation NASCAR driver, Adam Petty, son of NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, and grandson of racing legend Richard Petty. It’s frequently referred to as a living memorial to Adam and, without a doubt, Victory Junction could not be more about living life to the fullest!
After Adam’s tragic death in 2000, the Petty family founded Victory Junction, fulfilling Adam’s personal dream of opening a camp for seriously ill children, and the first campers arrived in 2004. Life at Victory Junction is the epitome of respect and teamwork, where children and teens put aside any health limitations and simply focus on fun.
For 13-year-old Mack Raymer, experiencing the joy that is Victory Junction makes him feel like a regular kid – and that is life-changing, explains his mother, Casey Raymer.
“At Victory Junction, he isn’t special because of his disabilities or his healthcare challenges, he’s special because he’s Mack – wickedly funny and, as he is quick to tell you – ‘adorable Mack’,” she shares.
Mack has been attending camp since he was eight years old and is part of the neuro/genetics camp because it’s really his genetic condition that is the umbrella under which the rest of his medical conditions fall. Mack has 22q deletion syndrome. That tiny piece of missing DNA has massive implications for nearly all areas of his health and development.
“Mack spends so much time dreading things – upcoming surgeries (he’s had more than 20, including two open heart surgeries to repair a congenital heart defect), doctor appointments, x-rays, blood draws, the list goes on – it’s wonderful for him to have something he can have unbridled excitement about,” says Casey. Mack’s pediatrician strongly encouraged the family to complete the application and send him to camp – knowing it would be good for both Mack and his family.
“He had to be brave, and we had to be brave,” says Casey. “We had been through so much with him; we couldn’t imagine trusting his care to someone else. But, we shouldn’t have worried – Mack couldn’t be in more caring and capable hands than those at Victory Junction. The staff and volunteers are incredible! They are enthusiastic, nurturing, skilled and – most of all – fun!”
In fact, Mack’s typically developing twin brother and his younger brother are sometimes even a bit jealous he gets to go to such an amazing camp, says his mom!
“He gets to ride in hot air balloons, kiss fish, ride horses, shoot a bow and arrow, ride a zip line, get up-close with NASCAR – he truly gets to be a kid!” Casey adds that the Raymer family truly is a “camp” family – and both Mack’s brothers have been attending sleep-away camps for years. But, Mack could never attend those camps, and even most day camps aren’t equipped to manage his significant, specialized healthcare needs.
“There are trips and activities that our other kids would like to do, that just aren’t an option for Mack,” explains Casey. “Knowing he is having an incredible time at camp allows us to do some of those things without feeling like he’s missing out on anything. That makes Victory Junction Camp a true family blessing!”
Mack’s condition includes a compromised immune system and global developmental delays, and he is also g-tube dependent for all his nutrition. A palate repair surgery is scheduled for this spring – but there is plenty of time for him to recover and be ready for another amazing year of camp! When asked what his favorite thing about Victory Junction is – Mack’s response is simple and from the heart – EVERYTHING!
Visit victoryjunction.org for more information on camp opportunities and to learn more about the Victory Junction mission. The beautiful campsite is located at 4500 Adam’s Way in Randleman, NC and is open for tours Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Call 336.498.9055 to schedule a visit.