Cory is 10 years old and lives in tropical South Florida. Elliot is 14 years old and lives in the “Windy City” of Chicago. One might think that these two boys, who live hundreds of miles apart, may not have much in common, but they do. Both boys love this time of year because spring means VACC Camp – Miami Children's Ventilation Assisted Children’s Center Camp – and VACC Camp means swimming, sailing, arts and crafts, theme parties, games and field trips. Both Cory and Elliot are quadriplegic and are looking forward to VACC Camp, the nation’s first camp for ventilation-assisted children, which is in its twentieth year.
The week-long camp kicks off Saturday, April 8th at A.D. Barnes Park, 3401 SW 72 Avenue, at 12 p.m. Please see below for list of camp activities.
VACC Camp means a whole week to talk with other patients and families with similar life challenges. “The whole family looks forward to VACC Camp every year,” explains Cory’s father, Maurice Harrison. “Everyone at the camp is extended family and this is our annual family reunion.”
For 2 decades VACC Camp has provided a great escape for “technology dependent” children to participate in activities which are otherwise not readily accessible to them. Attracting children from around the country, VACC Camp gives children and their families the chance to socialize with others with similar medical needs, thus enhancing their self-esteem and social skills.
"I wanted Elliot to see that he’s not alone, that there are other children like him,” said Judy Santiago, Elliot’s mom. “He used to love to go swimming. It’s been three years, since Elliot’s been in a pool – that was before a virus left him quadriplegic,” explained Judy. “I can’t wait to have him back in the water.”
The VACC camp is offered free of charge and is open to children ages five and older. Managed by the hospital’s Division of Pulmonology, medical care is available around the clock to assist parents if needed.
For more information on VACC Camp, visit the website: www.vacccamp.com.
VACC Camp Photo Opportunities
- Saturday, April 8th A.D. Barnes Park 12:00 P.M. - Campers start arriving 1:30 P.M. - Carnival Fair with games and entertainment
- Sunday, April 9th 10:00 A.M. - Sailing at Shake-A-Leg, Coconut Grove
- Monday, April 10th 5:30 P.M. - VACC Camp’s 20th Anniversary Dinner and Celebration
- Wednesday, April 12th A.D. Barnes Park 1:30 P.M. - Swimming in the pool – weather permitting
- Thursday, April 13th 10:30 A.M. - Day at Bayside
MEDIA ARE WELCOME. Campers and physicians are available for interviews. For additional information or to attend any of VACC Camp’s events, please contact Cynthia Gutierrez-White at (305) 668-5514.
Founded in 1950, Miami Children's Hospital is the only licensed specialty hospital for children in South Florida. Ranked Miami–Dade County’s “Best Pediatric Hospital” by South Florida Parenting Magazine, Miami Children's Hospital offers medical care and services for children from birth to age 21. The 268-bed medical facility has expertise in all aspects of pediatric medicine.
About Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children's Hospital is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with nearly 800 attending physicians and more than 475 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children's Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession's most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.