Kids of Courage go to Washington

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Kids of Courage which was founded in the Five Towns and has an office in Cedarhurst, is a traveling camp that takes children with serious medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and cancer on trips, took an eight-day adventure to Washington, D.C. and Virginia this August. More than 300 volunteers — counselors, doctors, paramedics and nurses — assisted 110 children and young adults.

Coach buses loaded with campers from across the U.S., Canada and Israel made their way to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania on day one. Special passes helped them avoid long lines and receive extra attention.

After a busy day filled with rides, roller coasters and the delicious smell of chocolate, everyone headed to a hotel in Virginia. Hunger was stamped out by the 24-hour tea room packed with a variety of snacks and drinks. The friendly hotel workers and counselors tended to the campers’ needs. The medical professionals took care of the oxygen tanks, chemo therapy and medications.

On day two, it was off to the nation’s capital, the Smithsonian Museum, and then the White House, where the group met the president’s secretary, who told them some interesting tidbits.

Shabbat on day three. A time to rest and get acquainted with everyone on the trip. Good food, inspiring speeches from campers, an end of Sabbath ceremony, and an amazing concert.

Camp T-shirts worn on day four and an action-packed time at King’s Dominion amusement park. Thrilling rides, cool entertainment and prizes.

Raining on day five. But doesn’t stop Kids of Courage as the group goes to a huge mall that has a Dave & Buster’s, Toys “R” Us and plenty of room to dance.

The last three days included rides on personal watercrafts, learning about and taking part in FBI training, more concerts and other fun activities and a goodbye banquet.

Building the campers their self-confidence is one of the major aims of Kids of Courage. The children and young adults talk about how they feel comfortable among their friends in the program because they can relate to others going through similar situations.

One camper gave a speech about how he became paralyzed from the waist down after getting into an accident. A photographer, he wanted to take a photo from the top of a tall pole. He fell and was rushed to the hospital. He uses a wheelchair to get around and was given a prosthetic arm. He said that what made him look forward to living life was hearing about Kids of Courage.

Saying he was inspired by other campers that had disabilities yet were so positive and capable. He now continues to take photos, is full of life, good humor and speaks to inspire other people as well. Another camper said, “miracles happen with Kids of Courage.”

To support Kids of Courage, contact Cohen at (917) 921-4276 or estt26@gmail.com.

Cohen is a Kids of Courage coordinator.