Not far from Orlando, you’ll find the wonderful Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Fla. Actor Paul Newman and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf founded the 232-acre camp in 1996. It’s a place where chronically and terminally ill children and their families can go for a week or weekend, have fun and forget about their troubles. Expert medical care teams volunteer their time to look after the kids while they’re there. Camp Boggy Creek makes sure that no child is deprived of the opportunity to experience the fundamental bonding that camp provides.
This year, the camp will host its 5th Annual Challenge Ride on Sept. 12 to raise money and awareness. Camp Boggy Creek is free for children and their families, but thrives off of donations and grant funding.
Boca Raton’s Alan and Lyda Karrh are helping to spread the word locally about Camp Boggy Creek, and they have formed a team for the ride. They named it Jacqueline’s Magnanimous Manatees in memory of their daughter Jacqueline Karrh.
Camp Boggy Creek was her favorite place.
“The camp provided a slice of heaven on earth for her—someplace she could go and forget about her medical concerns and hang out with other kids that were going through the same thing,” Lyda Karrh says. “She could run around feeling safe and free from judgment.”
Jacqueline was born with a rare bone disorder, known as Klippel-Feil Syndrome. As part of this disorder, she had cleft palate, severe scoliosis, clubfeet and other bone anomalies. Jacqueline generally underwent two or three major surgeries each year, and her family would travel to San Antonio, Texas, twice a year for her back surgeries.
“She weathered her medical procedures and surgeries like a trooper,” Lyda Karrh says, “but they would wear her down.”
Camp Boggy Creek hosts children with illnesses like Jacqueline. She and her family attended the camp in 2007 and 2008. The physical, financial and mental pressures of constant medical care seemed to fade away for the Karrhs once they set foot on Camp Boggy Creek’s grounds.
“We were able to meet other parents and compare notes on medical procedures and gain support from each other,” Lyda Karrh says. “The camp is therapeutic for both the child and family.”
Have fun while making a difference
You can help to raise money for Camp Boggy Creek by taking a road trip to Eustis and joining one of the rides. The rides include breakfast, on-course support and rest stops, as well as a post-ride celebration and lunch.
Registration for the 60- and 40-mile rides is only $40, but riders must raise $250 to participate. There’s no fundraising requirement for the 15-mile ride, which is off-road, but riders must still pay the registration fee.
The ride starts at Camp Boggy Creek (30500 Brantley Branch Road, Eustis, Fla.)on Sept. 12. You can join the Karrh’s team, or you can ride on your own or start another team.
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Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on wordscomealive.com.