Camps can provide so much more than a few days of fun. We’re proud to share how Boggy Creek, a special camp supported by Publix Charities, provides a “happy place” for children with health issues and their families.
Being There: A special camp brings joy to children with health issues.
Joshua’s first moments with his mom, dad, and six brothers were in the Tampa International Airport after many hours of travel from China, where he had spent his first eight years. Born with a severe heart defect, Joshua was abandoned as an infant and sent to an orphanage to live what doctors predicted would be a short life. Most considered him unadoptable, until the Martin family came along.
Having adopted two of their six sons from China, Sonia and John Martin learned of Joshua’s situation and knew they could give him a better life, no matter its duration. Sonia consulted with U.S. pediatric cardiologists, and as soon as Joshua arrived, she drove him to Gainesville, Florida, for treatment. A few days later, Joshua underwent a major open-heart surgery that saved his life.
“After one month, that sick little boy who couldn’t walk more than a couple of feet practically ran out of the hospital with a lifetime of hope ahead,” said Sonia.
Brothers Jacob, a craniofacial patient, and Joey, a heart patient, each have their own stories of medical issues, adoption, and miraculous outcomes. All three boys have acclimated to home on MacDill Air Force Base, where their father John serves as a pilot. Highlights of the year for the Martin boys are visits to Camp Boggy Creek, a special place their favorite nurse Connie shared with them.
“At Boggy Creek our boys are cared for and protected, yet still get to fish, canoe, shoot arrows, and just be boys,” Sonia said. “It’s a slice of perfection.”
For the Martins, Boggy Creek has become a second home. Joshua, Jacob, and Joey spend a week at camp in the summer, and the whole family attends yearly heart and craniofacial weekends.
“When we’re at camp, our family can be relaxed and carefree,” said John. “It’s our happy place.”
Camp Boggy Creek
30500 Brantley Branch Road
Eustis, FL 32736
In the world of a seriously ill child, carefree fun may come only in small doses. Thankfully, there’s a place called Camp Boggy Creek, serving up heaps of joyful moments each year for thousands of children with life-threatening or chronic conditions.
Boggy Creek brings a free, idyllic camp experience in a medically sound environment, as well as support for parents and siblings. Whether canoeing, woodworking, or horseback riding, campers explore new territory and make friends. Children with health issues have a chance to be themselves around others just like them.