By Kimberly Goldklang
Whether it was visiting family, attending camp, representing Children’s Miracle Network, or adventuring in Disney, our Miracle Kids had quite the fun-filled summer! They traveled from coast to coast living their lives to the fullest. Despite needing a surgery or a check up at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, our Miracle Kids still managed to try new things, have amazing experiences, and make memories to last a lifetime before heading back to school.
Summer camp is one of the most popular places for kids to attend over their three month break from school. Brandon spent most of his days at Lakemont Camp and the Creative School for Children at UCF. Lauren attended Pottery Camp, where she learned a new hobby, and she also finished her summer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Camp. Twins Andrew and Katelyn both attended church camp. Two of the four Bell quadruplets, Emily and Olivia, went to Theater Camp. There they learned some Broadway songs and are now looking forward to being on the stage one day! Kendall and Carson, along with their younger brother Cooper, went to Page 15’s Young Writers Camp and participated in a seven day nature-based camp and absolutely loved it!
Magic & Miracles
One of the perks of living in Orlando is having Disney World right in our backyard! Many of the kids took advantage of this and spent several summer days adventuring around the Most Magical Place on Earth. Both Ashton and Myles were so excited to attend Disney because they were finally able to ride the “big boy rides.” The boys both agreed that their favorite ride was Splash Mountain!
Southern Road Trips
Many of our miracle families went outside of Florida and took road trips to explore the South! Lauren, Lucas, and Alex all went on trips with their families to Tennessee. Lauren went to spend quality time with Grandpa. Lucas went on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains and explored new places along the way. Alex went to Chattanooga and visited Ruby’s Fall, Rock City, Incline Railroad, Chattanooga Zoo, and Choo Choo Station. After Tennessee, Alex and his family went to Georgia. When in Georgia, Alex spent a lot of time with his cousin, having fun and relaxing. Andrew and Katelyn went to Memphis, Missouri where their mom grew up.
Taking it up the east coast, Emma traveled to Washington D.C. with her Middle School Civics Class. While in D.C., Emma was able to sight see & visit many of the monuments. Eleven-year-old JP and his family also went up north, visiting New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.. He even celebrated his birthday in Times Square and had a birthday party with his best friend, Adrianna! While in New York, JP went to Yankee Stadium, where he was able to take in a game. Miracle child Ashton also took a trip to Upstate New York, visitin
g his Grandma and Grandpa Pip in Lake George. From taking the boat out on the lake, to riding a tractor and meeting lots of farm animals, Ashton did it all! Even miracle brothers William and Patrick made it up north, spending a month in Connecticut where they swam in the river.
West Coast Adventures
Some families took a big adventure and went all the way to the west coast, or even beyond! Ayden was invited to attend the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles, California. Only the top 50 in the country qualify for this competition! The South Family also visited California where Makalyah and Bellah had so much fun with their siblings. Bellah experienced swimming for the first time ever and even went in the ocean. She quickly taught herself to go underwater without holding her nose, do cannonballs, dive, and go to the bottom in the deep end of the pool! At the end of July, the Shields Family went on a ten day road trip through Alaska, which is almost 5,000 miles away from home!
Skills & Sports
Aside from vacations and traveling, summer is a great time to practice new skills and prepare for upcoming fall sports. William was selected to be a member of a competitive travel soccer team and was so excited to start. Back in June, Maleah tried out for the Jones High School Cheerleading Team and made Junior Varsity! Maleah spent a lot of time conditioning for cheer throughout the summer and attended a three day Cheer Camp with her team at the end of last month. She has enjoyed learning tennis, playing golf, and spending time with her friends this summer. In addition, she joined the teen advisory council for Orlando Health Arnold Palmer, which has brought her great joy and confidence. Sophia, Olivia, Emily, and Noah Bell all took swimming lessons at Grandma’s pool and loved being in the water. As a reward for their Fall Product Sales, Aryelle and her Girl Scout Troop were invited to go to the Holiday Inn Water Resort and qualified for a free weekend.
Our Hospital is Never Closed
School may have been on break, but our hospital is never closed. Just like the UCF students who participate in Knight-Thon, our Miracle Kids continue to spread awareness for Arnold Palmer and kids just like them. The Shields family kicked off their summer with a trip to Dayton, Ohio to participate in Speedway’s 27th Annual Miracle Golf Tournament. Kendall and Carson were honored to represent CMN at such an incredible event. In midst of his family’s travels, Andrew attended a Youth Rally in Colorado with kids from across the country who have had similar challenges with Spina Bifida. Back in Orlando, Justice spent her 10th birthday raising money for Children’s Miracle Network by participating in the Models for Miracles Pageant with many of our other miracle kids! Arden too celebrated a birthday this summer, this one being extra special for her and her family. In July, Arden turned six. Doctors had told her parents that she would most likely not make it to see five years old, but thanks to the amazing care from CMN Hospitals, Arden is doing great and has been full of smiles & laughs! Arden also received a summer surprise when she got approval for her Make a Wish! She will be getting her own play/therapy room tailored to her needs and abilities. While school’s out, unfortunately not all kids are able to live carefree summers. Sam spent the last four months in and out of the hospital with four surgeries, making it a bit of a crazy summer for him and his family. Sam continues to be strong and a warrior.
The Summer has come to an end and it is time to go back to school. We loved seeing all of the fun our kids had this summer and are so proud to have them as a part of our Knight-Thon Family! We can’t wait to see them continue to grow this year and be apart of this next chapter in their lives!