Posted: Aug 1, 2011 12:29 AM by Chris Welty
Updated: Aug 1, 2011 12:37 AM
When you are a child suffering from a serious illness, sometimes you have to miss out on the fun things in life like simply playing with others kids your age.
One summer camp in Acadia Parish gives children a place to do just that.
"I've had two heart surgeries actually. As I got through it, I got braver and braver and I got through it." Nine year old Justin Mata has come to Camp Bon Coeur for two years. For such a young age, he and his parents have over come several challenges.
"Just emotionally knowing what Justin is going through and when you have heart surgery, you can't pick up, pull, or push anything over five pounds for six weeks," said Rachel Mata, Justin's mom.
Despite the challenges, Justin's parents see how much he has grown and how the camp is changing his life. "He really, really matures emotionally and spiritually, and just brings home a lot so we said you're definitely coming back," said Mata.
The campers get to go swimming, learn archery, and even get to dissect a cow's heart.
Every summer nearly two dozen campers come to Camp Bon Coeur, and they enjoy coming out because it gives them a sense of normalcy and a chance to be a regular kid.
"I think it's the best place on Earth, I absolutely do," said one camper.
"You do make a lot of friends because a lot of people come to camp, and you have cabin mates and all. You make really good friend," said Justin Mata.
First strangers now these campers are life long friends and are looking forward to meeting up next summer.
Camp Bon Coeur was created in 1985 by a Lafayette hospital, and kids from all over the nation travel here for ten days of fun and activities.