Introducing our youngest (and arguably the cutest) “AccesSurfer of the Month:” SOPHIA!

Sophia is also the daughter of our very hardworking grantwriter, Simone.  We could sing their praises all day but lets hear about Sophia directly from her dad.

Sophia is a little princess warrior.

Sophia was born with a “Giant Omphalocele” which is basically that her belly button didn’t close up, and her stomach organs were in a little sack outside of her body. This resulted in other complications including under-developed lungs where she was eventually given a tracheostomy and ventilator to help her breath while her lungs continue grow stronger.

She just celebrated being home more days then she has spent in an ICU unit (295 days). She has gone through more medical procedures than most others do in a lifetime and yet she is such a happy camper.

While she was in the hospital we told her about AccesSurf and how we couldn’t wait to take her in the ocean.  Hanai grandma Candy would sit many hours at her bedside telling Sophia about all of the wonderful Ohana she will eventually meet at AccesSurf. When Sophia finally made it home from the NICU and PICU, she visited DATB a few times, but couldn’t really participate in the water.  Finally, on November 16th, 2019, she not only attended (like she did with DATB before) but also finally participated in her first AccesSurf event, the canoe clinic.  Sophia loved the canoe clinic and hopes to be a paddler one day just like her mama. She is probably the only child on a ventilator that got to go so far. In July, AccesSurf asked Sophia and us if she could do a test run towards helping them re-opening the swim clinic. Sophia was able to spend her first afternoon swimming back and forth in a pool and had such a joyous smile on her face the whole time.  Getting a whole baby pool to herself for her first experience was very special to us and we are incredibly gracious to AccesSurf for asking Sophia to help. One day in the future Sophia will eventually be off her ventilator and have her trach tube removed when her lungs are healed and when that day comes we know she will never want to leave the water because of her first amazing experiences due to AccesSurf’s efforts.

Aaron PaulkKila Moniz