Special needs children visit So. Fla. beach
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A program that helps assist special needs children gave them an experience that would last a lifetime.
It was a special day for the children's of the Ventilation Assisted Children's Center camp of Miami Children's Hospital. For many, like Andrea Patrick from Ohio, it was her first trip to the beach. "The camp is so amazing with the kids," said Andrea's aunt Angie Antinick. "They take them to places they've never seen before. The other day, we went sailing, and it was beautiful, and today we're at the beach. Most of them have never been on the beach."
On Tuesday, the children went into the cold waters near Nikki Beach and felt the waves for the first time. Campers used a special chair to wheel down the kids into the water. They cannot take the ventilators with them into the water, but someone breathed for them using a bag. "Camp teaches people like the campers and volunteers that there really is no such thing as a boundary," said Camper Maylan Chavez.
The camp is open to children ages five to 21, and it is free. It's an experience not just for the campers, but for the volunteer doctors, nurses and students who spend their spring break with the children.
Dr. Moises Simpser created the camp 27 years ago. He had one goal in mind: To give these kids a moment of independence. "The freedom this gives them, and the comfort to the parents to continue. After that, you will see these children in the streets, you will see them in the malls," said Simper. "Many years ago, they were prisoners in intensive care. Then, they became prisoners in their house, and now they are free."
The experience was more than just a trip to the beach, but a memory that will last them a lifetime. "I learn that they are just regular kids. They are normal. Honestly, spring break for me, I wouldn't have it any other way," said volunteer Patricia Delguys.
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