(WSVN) — From hospital beds and chemotherapy to the time of their lives.
These kids who spend every day battling cancer are having a blast thanks to a special camp hosted by Miami Children’s Hospital.
Pediatric Oncologist at Miami Children’s Hospital
Dr. Athena Pefkarou: “It’s small, we only house about 34, 35 children between the ages of seven and 17.”
With a full medical staff on hand kids are taken to Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo for the most memorable camp experience ever, a chance to swim with the dolphins.
Briana Vega: “They’re just so cute and sweet.”
It was the first time for 11-year-old Briana who is being treated for leukemia.
Briana Vega: “It was really nice in the water and I really liked touching the dolphins.”
Sixteen-year-old Andres was diagnosed with leukemia last year. And says it’s been a long and painful road.
Andres Hidalgo: “So when I heard that we could actually be touching the dolphins and swimming with the dolphins, I got really happy.”
Director at Island Dolphin Care Deena Hoagland: “Over 50 percent of them are still on chemotherapy”
Doctors say because of the aggressive treatment and side effects these children live very protected lives. But this camp allows them to be kids.
Deena Hoagland: “It makes them feel normal.”
And dolphins have a special connection with humans.
Deena Hoagland: “This is amazing to see this child having fun and laughing and being a kid, this is why we do what we do.”
Many campers become counselors because they know what these kids are going through every day and how this experience can take them away from their disease.
Camp Counselor Danny Tamayo: “For me it was a great feeling of knowing that I could do something that everybody else could do.”
Fifteen-year-old Antonio says catching a ride with a dolphin is something he will never forget.
Antonio Ferrero: “It feels like a dream come true.”
Island Dolphin Care is a non-profit organization that relies on donations to keep operating.
For More Information:
Island Dolphin Care
150 Lorelane Place
Key Largo, Fl 33037
Tel: (305) 451-5884