MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ventilator-dependent children and their families enjoyed a stress-free day at Miami Beach on Monday.
They got buried in the sand, soaked up the sun and even got in the water.
“It’s so hard to be mobile when you’re in a power chair. We have to carry her on to the beach,” said Cindy Kinnene.
This is the day where they make the impossible, possible or at least the very difficult, easy.
It’s all part of Camp VACC or Ventilated Assisted Children’s Center, a week-long stay in the area for children from around the country with special needs, specifically, those that require ventilators or mechanical assistance to breath.
Miami Beach Fire Rescue was on hand to set up wheelchair paths over the sand and to assist the children.
A fleet of specialized beach wheelchairs was available for the kids to use, as well as, hand-held ventilators.
The week-long camp, founded in 1986, has hosted over 250 families through the years, some of whom have traveled from 27 states and three countries.
For kids, like 6-year-old Rebecca Sanchez, it meant getting wet in the ocean for the first time in a long time.
— Miami Beach Fire (@MiamiBeachFire) March 25, 2019
“It’s great to see other kids like her and enjoying and having fun,” said Aline Sanchez, her mother.
Rebecca was born with Spina Bifida or her spinal cord outside of their body, she’s unable to speak because a tracheostomy placed just this December, her mom said she’d been sliding into depression, but Monday at the beach, she was all smiles.
“She’s so happy here seeing everybody with the same condition. She sees a kid and she points like mom just like me so it’s been awesome.”
Every year Miami Beach Fire Rescue creates the beach access by bringing the inflatable waterproof wheelchairs, the tents, and the umbrellas.
For Ellary Kinnene who has a condition called Nemaline Myopathy that causes muscle weakness throughout her body she says, “I don’t feel as different.”
It’s not just a day at the beach for her and her parents, it’s magic.
“Water was like splashing up, it’s a comforting feel like home. it’s a great feeling to know that everybody here is in the same situation,” said Cindy Kinnene.
The camp is provided at no cost to the families thanks to donations made to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
For more information about the camp or to help, please click here.