July 18, 2024
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Kids of Courage Gives ‘Couragers’ Adventures to Remember

If Texas is big, this undertaking may be even bigger. Over 400 members of a non-profit organization named Kids of Courage are heading on an eight-day summer adventure to Texas this week, and there will be what is being dubbed a “hospital in the sky” to take them there.

Kids of Courage participants, better knows as “Couragers,” will flock to the great city of Dallas on over 20 different flights from 14 states and four countries, including Israel. A charter flight from Newark on Thursday morning will carry more than 30 individuals who require supplemental in-flight oxygen at all times, which will set a new world record.

“This is the most medically challenging group that we will travel with to date,” said Dr. Stuart Ditchek, Kids of Courage co-founder and medical director. “Because of our expertise in traveling with serious illness, it’s essentially easier for us to travel with nearly 150 medically challenged individuals than it is for most parents to travel with just one.”

While in Texas, the group will adventure to Six Flags, Texas Motor Speedway, AT&T Stadium—the home of the Dallas Cowboys—and many other attractions.

“It doesn’t matter how serious anybody’s condition might be—everybody will be able to participate equally,” said Dr. Ditchek. “We redefine what it means to live with a serious disability or chronic illness. There are no disabilities in Kids of Courage, only challenges to be overcome.”

Each camper on the trip will be accompanied by at least one counselor. Some campers require two or even three counselors, depending on the severity of their illness. While the heroic Couragers are traveling with the group, their families will be recharging their batteries enjoying some well-deserved respite. Their is no cost to the families who send their Couragers.

Kids of Courage will bring four doctors and more than 15 paramedics, nurses and EMTs. Around 1,700 doses of different medications will be administered on the road per day, which, according to Kids of Courage, is more than an average-size children’s hospital. Medical logistics personnel will tag along carrying oxygen tanks and ice-cold water in the parks. “Every detail is covered,” said a counselor. “Wherever we go, the logistics team is always right there with wheelchairs and any other supplies we may need.”

How does the group do it? “Working out the logistics of the trip is a near impossible task,” said K.O.C. co-founder and head paramedic Howie Kafka. “Every year we’re amazed that a group of volunteers from all walks of life come together and pull off what can only be called a miracle.”

Dr. Ditchek added, “The organization goes as far as its volunteers take it. We rely completely on the generosity of good people. Our programs are extending and enhancing the lives of these incredible individuals.”

The trip to Dallas is the organization’s eighth annual summer trip. K.O.C. also runs a winter adaptive ski adventure to Vermont, in addition to approximately 30 days worth of activities throughout the year.

When asked to sum it up, camper Racheli Herzfeld from Teaneck, NJ, had this to say, “Kids of Courage makes the impossible possible.”

This unique organization was founded in 2008 as a volunteer program dedicated to improving the lives of children fighting serious and chronic illness. Kids of Courage provides medically supervised trips to children battling illness at absolutely no cost to the children’s families, and provides a much-needed respite for the children and parents alike. For more information about the non-profit organization or to make a donation, please visit kidsoc.org. You can follow K.O.C. at @KidsOfCourage on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

 

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