A group of children who need ventilators to breathe traveled to South Florida for spring break to enjoy the beach.
The trip is part of the Ventilation-Assisted Children’s Center Camp, which helps participants achieve as normal a life as possible.
For some, the beach day was their very first time getting fun in the sun. Andrea Patrick, 15, came from Ohio to create her first memories being buried in the sand and taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
"It just melted my heart," said Angela Antonick, Angela's aunt. "She is just so happy and just so grateful and she just loved it. She loves every minute being here."
Andrea joined other teenagers and children who rely on ventilators for a stress-free day at the beach.
Miami Children’s Hospital and volunteers took care of everything for the camp. The group laid plywood for wheelchair paths on top of the sand. Once the kids had a view of the ocean, firefighters carried them into the water.
All activities were under doctor supervision and hand ventilators were used to keep air flowing.
“We have somebody like me or one of my nurses breathing for them during the time they are off their own ventilator,” said Dr. Moises Simpser of Miami Children’s Hospital.
High school student Patricia Del Guys told Local 10 she gave up her own spring break to volunteer.
"I think of those kids getting into the water -- it's like God can create miracles,” said Del Guys. "Those smiles that you see on their faces, those are one of a kind."
Maylan Chavez has been coming to the camp for years, and said she appreciates all the effort.
“What they do for us is priceless,” said Chavez.
Children come to the weeklong camp for free.
Visit the Ventilation-Assisted Children’s Center Camp's website to make a donation or get involved.