PHOENIX -- Going to camp is always an adventure. But for one group of Arizona kids it can be life-changing.
“We found out she had a heart condition that was unfixable,” said Kristi Vega, Gabriella’s mom.
3TV first brought you Gabriella’s story in 2009. The little 4-year-old was in need of a heart transplant.
“We didn't have a lot of time to settle into that devastation because it was either you get really down about it or start gearing up,” Vega said.
Vega’s daughter was lucky and got a new heart.
“I just like dancing and I like cheering,” Gabriella said.
Now 7-1/2 years old, Gabriella is growing up like any other kid. As a matter of fact, she's going on a trip.
Gabriella and nearly 100 local kids, who all have heart conditions, are going to Camp Del Corazon on Catalina Island.
“We are going to be in the water and were going to go on a big boat,” Gabriella said.
It will be several days of fun activities at no cost to the families. All made possible thanks to the Nick & Kelly Children's Heart Fund.
“They do it just because the fact they know this gives the family something to look forward to every year,” said Travis Moncur, Nick & Kelly Children’s Heart Fund volunteer.
Moncur said this trip not only gives kids a chance to grow, but also helps the parents.
“Letting her walk away from me, that’s probably the biggest step,” Vega said.
The big day finally arrived. The kids along with volunteer cardiologists, nurses, even former campers boarded a US Airways plane on Thursday.
“Who is all excited to go to camp?” “I am,” said some of the campers.
Even though Dan and Margaret Majetich have been offering this trip for 17 years, they never grow tired of seeing all the little smiles and bright eyes. The couple started the organization after losing both of their sons, Nick and Kelly to heart disease.
“We didn't have any more children, so dealing with these kids and being able to take them and be around them, it keeps us going,” Dan Majetich said.
The camp is changing lives one heart at a time.
“There is despair at the beginning because you have no idea where it's going, but there's a lot of hope and great, amazing things that can happen at the end,” Vega said.
The kids will return to the Valley on Monday.
If you're interested in helping this organization, log on to www.nickandkellyfund.org or call 480-838-1529.