Over 100 campers, staff, and supporters flocked to Nassau, Bahamas, for Kids of Courage’s third annual marathon fundraising weekend. “Kids of Courage likes to think outside the box,” said counselor Abie Abraham. “The campers and participants get to make memories that will last them a lifetime.”
The purpose of the weekend was to raise crucial funds to support the organization’s year-round programming. Campers who participated also raised money to give back to the organization that means so much to them. Throughout the year, hundreds of children fighting serious illnesses are serviced by the volunteer-centric organization.
“Everything that the organization does comes at no cost to the campers or their families,” said Gerry Adest, “from the summer adventure camp, to the adaptive ski trip, Shabbatons, and Sunday fun days.”
All told, Kids of Courage provides around 45 days of programming per year. Last August, the organization traveled with a group of 500 for a nine-day dream trip to Orlando. At least one counselor accompanied each child, along with a medical volunteer assigned to them.
In the Bahamas, campers got to swim with dolphins at the world-famous dolphin cove at the Atlantis Resort.
“There is nothing that our campers can’t do,” said program director Ari Dobkin. “No illness, no physical disability can stand in the way of our campers and their volunteers.”
Runners who participated enjoyed a fully catered weekend, a stay at the beautiful Melia Beach Resort, access to the Atlantis Resort, and their race entries.
No Kids of Courage race would be complete without featuring the campers they represent. “Five campers joined us for the race in adaptive running equipment,” said the team’s race coach Michal Arieh. “Running a marathon transcends physical limitations, just like these campers do living with illness every minute of every day.”
A camper who is a double amputee walked the last mile on his one-week-old prosthetic legs. “The finish line exploded in cheers when he walked across. I felt like a celebrity just being near him,” said Eli Friedman, one of the weekend’s organizers, and the runner who pushed him in an adaptive chair until the 12.1-mile marker.
When asked to sum up the weekend, camper and runner Hudi Arieh summed it up in one word: “Paradise.” v