MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A group of South Florida children enjoyed some much deserved fun in the sun, thanks to a local organization, and they were joined by local first responders.
7News cameras captured the young beachgoers and their loved ones as they hit the sand near First Street in Miami Beach, Monday morning.
It’s an activity many may take for granted, but not these families.
“It’s a beautiful day on Nikki Beach!” said 12-year-old Andrew Nagle.
The boy lives with only one lung.
“He has chronic lung disease, and he’s under the ventilator,” said Paola Nagle, his mother.
Andrew and the rest of the children are all patients at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
The Dr. Moises Simpser Ventilation Assisted Children’s Center Camp invited the patients and their families for a stress free beach day.
Dr. Maria Franco, a pediatric pulmonoloist and the camp’s director, said they provide the children with everything they need for a safe experience.
“When they go into the water, they have a little hole in their trachea, we put a little cap so the water doesn’t go in, so that makes them safe,” she said. “The other thing we have is a special wheelchair that goes into the water.”
“We have everything here in case of an emergency,” said Paola, “but we are so thankful and happy and more relaxed because we have the medical [staff] here, Dr. Franco is here, all his nurses.”
Also on hand to be a part of the fun were first responders with Miami Beach Fire Rescue. They hung out with the children and made them more comfortable in the water.
Miami Beach Fire Rescue Capt. Victor White said the beach day is as enjoyable for them as it is for the children.
“Seeing the smile on some of these kids’ faces that have never seen the beach, who have never been able to enjoy it, is one of the most priceless and most gratifying things that I think we can ever do,” he said.
The event is even more special because it was the first time the camp has been able to hold the event since the COVID pandemic.
The day was full of swimming, games, flying kites and a lunch at Nikki Beach.
“He loves it, he enjoys it. He waits all the year for this,” said Paola.
“They love the beach. They love everything we do because they know they are safe, the families are happy,” said Franco.
The event is funded by people in the community. Now that it’s back, organizers said, they plan to continue doing it for years moving forward.
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