Dr. Moises Simpser, pediatric pulmonologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, founded the nation’s first Ventilator Assisted Children’s Center (VACC) Camp 1986. In honor of Dr. Simpser’s leadership, Nicklaus Children’s medical staff has renamed the camp with his name. The program, which just celebrated its 30th year in 2016, has brought life-affirming adventure to the lives of hundreds of children and their family members who have taken part in the week-long, sleep-away camp experience.
Dr. Simpser has had a long and storied career at Nicklaus Children’s providing care for children with chronic lung diseases, post-traumatic paralysis, muscular dystrophy and many other illnesses that impede a child’s ability to breathe independently. A common thread connects the most seriously ill children in his care – their lives are dependent on ventilator technology. Most are confined to wheelchairs and require constant medical monitoring.
Motivated by a desire to touch and enrich the lives of his patients, Dr. Simpser created VACC Camp as an annual fun-filled retreat for the children and their families.
“A key element of VACC Camp is helping families learn to sweep away barriers for ventilator-assisted children. Often the children’s lives are severely restricted due to the complexities of leaving the house or medical care setting with the large amount of equipment that must travel with them combined with the necessity of constant monitoring,” said Dr. Simpser.
The goal of VACC camp is to provide families with opportunities to socialize with peers and share activities not readily accessible to technology dependent children, including swimming and sailing. The free, week-long program draws families from throughout the nation and has inspired the creation of similar camps in Central Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
For more information, please visit www.vacccamp.com.