This weekend, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida (EFOF) proudly welcomed home children living with epilepsy after a week at Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Florida. “Due to the generous support of the communities in which we live and provide services, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida raised enough funds to be able to provide 80 kids a life changing experience. For one week, July 15 to July 20, children with epilepsy were surrounded with children just like themselves but the focus wasn’t about living with a seizure disorder – the focus was fun, excitement, empowerment and fellowship. At Camp Boggy Creek, kids with epilepsy get to experience the joy of being just kids, they participate in activities just like anyone else at a summer camp, with hiking, horse-back riding, swimming, singing, boating and more” stated EFOF chief executive officer, Karen Basha Egozi.
“Camp is often the first time children with seizure disorders are on their own, giving them the opportunity to build independence. Playing and interacting with other kids who also have seizure disorders reduces the feelings of fear and isolation” added Ms. Basha Egozi. “These children have the opportunity to engage in activities that are often off-limits, but here they can build confidence in trying new things in an environment specifically designed for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
Not only does Camp Boggy Creek have the Patch, a state of the art medical facility on its grounds, the Patch is supported by highly qualified and committed medical volunteers. Pat Dean, M.S.N., ARNP, Clinical Coordinator of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Clinic at Miami Children’s Hospital, and immediate past Board President of EFOF, helped to establish a camp for kids with epilepsy in 1986 and she’s been a volunteer at epilepsy week at Boggy Creek since its inception. On her role with the camp, Pat Dean stated, “I’ve always viewed my responsibility to people with epilepsy as extending far beyond the walls of the hospital that I worked in. My responsibility is to help them achieve the highest quality of life in whatever way it takes to do it. Year after year at Camp Boggy Creek, I’ve seen how transformative this experience can be for kids with epilepsy and for their parents. Early in the week, one camper had a seizure in front of other campers and was embarrassed to re-join the group. We took the camper aside and said, “Do you realize that every single camper here has seizures too?” It dawned on the young camper, probably for the very first time, that she was far from alone in her experience, that there were other kids exactly like her and she was surrounded by them. That’s an experience unique to Camp Boggy Creek but is no doubt replicated many times during every epilepsy week, each and every year.”
In addition to the week for kids with epilepsy, Camp Boggy Creek offers a Fall Family Retreat Weekend from October 26 to October 28 where 32 campers and their entire families can enjoy all the camp has to offer while also finding support among other families contending with similar medical and emotional challenges. Interested families should call the Foundation at 305-670-4949 for more information. EFOF conducts fundraising activities throughout the year to send children and their families to Camp Boggy Creek.
Camp Boggy Creek is a permanent, year-round facility where children, ages 7–16, with chronic or life-threatening illnesses can come at no charge to them or their families. The Mission of Camp Boggy Creek is to enrich the lives of children who have chronic or life threatening illnesses by creating camping experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun, empowering, physically safe and medically sound. At camp, children can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, arts and crafts, horseback riding, theater, archery, singing, and dancing in specifically equipped facilities. Camp Boggy Creek is a proud member of The Association of Hole in the Wall Camps. To learn more visit www.boggycreek.org.