April 20, 2024
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Kids of Courage Visit Florida

The magic never felt so real in Orlando.

The highly visited city gets an average of 57 million visitors every year, but this summer there was a group of over 400 people that truly stood out from the rest.

The swarm of brightly colored t-shirts and caps that is trademark to Kids of Courage brought life, once again, to the various theme parks and attractions in Orlando for their annual nine-day Summer Adventure Camp in mid-August. The trip lifted off with hugs galore as veteran Couragers reunited and new Couragers were welcomed at Newark Airport for the United-turned-Courage Airlines flight down south. The camp had over 130 chronically ill children and young adults from more than a dozen U.S. states, Canada, Israel and South America.

The crew that never stops smiling explored Universal Studios, braved the intensely feared drop that only the SheiKra roller coaster in Busch Gardens Tampa can provide, and took selfies with Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, among other thrilling escapades, which included Legoland, SeaWorld and ATVing. One evening, the DoubleTree Hotel was introduced to a new generation of up-and-coming pop stars as an explosive lip sync battle was waged; wheelchairs and oxygen tanks became bling, medications and hospital visits are what all the cool kids do.

Kids of Courage is a reality where the word handicap is not a limitation but an incentive to go the distance. To these magnificent campers, illness is not a barrier or a wall. It is not something that holds them back from pursuing goals and following their dreams. K.O.C. is made up of the most resilient children and young adults who, instead of saying “I can’t go jet skiing because of my ventilator,” say, “Who’s got the plastic wrap!?” and jump on.

All year long these brave souls hear from doctors and other health care providers that they cannot do this or they should really stay away from that. With the guidance of an amazing medical staff, the assistance of hard-working logistics staff, the encouragement of wonderful counselors, and the talented media staff to get it all on camera, these Couragers muster up the courage to do the seemingly impossible when with Kids of Courage.

It is truly a sight to see.

Kids of Courage is a volunteer-based 501(C)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to improve the lives of medically fragile children and young adults, as well as give a respite to families, through year-round programming and annual adventures. For more information about the group’s upcoming Miami Marathon adventure, e-mail [email protected]. To make a donation, please visit kidsoc.org.

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