Camp LUCK, Lucky Unlimited Cardiac Kids, began when the passions of four people merged. Jay “Bird” Thompson and René Herlong had a vision of creating a summer camp for children with significant heart disease. They pitched this idea to a meeting of the family support group, Levine Cardiac Kids. At that meeting, they learned that they had two very enthusiastic partners in Kim Jackson and her son, Jacob. Jacob had been to a similar camp in California, and he and his mother were eager to provide local kids with a similar opportunity. This melding of passions was the spark that ignited others to join in on the effort, and Camp LUCK family camp was born.
Family camp was an introduction to the idea of a kids’ camp for the families in Levine Cardiac Kids, and it was a resounding success. After our first family camp, we formed a Board of Directors and began the hard work of creating a kids’ camp. Several months after our first family camp, Jacob Jackson died after his last of many surgeries for his heart defect. The Camp LUCK community was devastated, but we all knew how much Jacob wanted to have a kids’ camp for his friends with heart problems. Jacob’s death turned that spark into a bonfire! All of us were re-energized to create this camp as Jacob’s legacy.
We have since had our second family camp. Our third is just around the corner, and our first kids’ camp will be this summer. Jacob has been with us every step of the way. His initials are on our logo, and his memory is forever in our hearts. We believe that there is no finer legacy than Camp LUCK. We have brought joy to many kids and their families, and we’ve only just begun! Come join in on the fun!
Camp LUCK is a 501c3 not-for-profit, medically supervised camp for children with heart problems and their families. Family camp is held one weekend a year in May and is a chance for families to bond and to support one another while having the time of their lives. Kids’ camp is held for one week in August and is a chance for kids 7-14 years of age with heart problems to have a “regular” summer camp experience. Each child has the opportunity to bring a sibling to camp. And camp is free for all children involved. Camp LUCK is located at Camp Cherokee in Kings Mountain State Park. This is about 45 minutes from Charlotte. Camp Cherokee is a rustic camp nestled in the woods of a beautiful state park. It provides a no frills (but plenty of thrills!!) opportunity for kids to run, play, swim, climb, explore, and grow—all without electronics of any kind. Kids’ lives and family’s lives are transformed at Camp LUCK. It’s truly that special.
In 2011, Camp LUCK held its second annual camp. Check out the coverage from News Channel 14.