Local News

Kids of Courage heads to Disney World

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nearly 100 kids with debilitating illnesses are taking a dream trip they never thought they'd make. Now, they're headed to Disney World in an airplane described as a "hospital in the sky."

Thursday is the day the 89 kids, teens and young adults have been waiting for. And Kids of Courage, a group just a year old, is responsible.

Arranging and executing the trip for kids with serious medical conditions took detailed planning.

"We administer medications, we adminster feedings through their feeding tubes and we moniter them for oxygen problems, breathing problems that can occur with this popuation during the flight," Kids of Courage Medical Director Dr. Stuart Ditchek said.

On the plane, you've got the kids, the volunteers and the doctors and nurses who will see after them. No parents are allowed.

"It's to have independence, to be away from their families," Dr. Ditchek said. "It gives their family a chance to get a breather and to build up and get some respite time away from the child, who takes a lot of their time."

Raising $400,000 for the trip wasn't easy in a recession, but the group pressed hard for a journey that could not wait.

"The life expectencies are in the low 20s, some of them have shorter life spans," co-founder Ari Adlerstein said. Sixteen similar flights are taking off from as far away as California and Canada, and they're all meeting up in Orlando for what is shaping up to be one big celebration of life.

Kids of Courage is always looking for volunteers and donations. To find out more information, visit Kidsoc.org.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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