RICHARD – Camp Bon Coeur received a special visitor Monday morning, when Louisiana’s First Lady Supriya Jindal arrived to present the camp’s head nurse Shana Zanyk with the first First Lady’s Award of 2012.
The award, presented through the First Lady’s non-profit Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children, periodically recognizes individuals who are strive to make a positive difference in the lives of children in the state.
Zanyk is a registered nurse from Lafayette who works in the burn unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
She uses her vacation time to serve on site day and night as volunteer nurse during the two-week camp for children with congenital heart defects, held annually at the Acadian Baptist Center.
Zanyk has volunteered her time to the camp for the past seven years, becoming acquainted with each child’s special needs and condition, and ensuring personalized medical care to allow each camper to participate in the camp to their fullest.
Zanyk also participates in a number of fund raisers to support the camp’s mission.
Jindal praised Zanyk, a mother of four, for dedicating so much of her time to the camp.
“I am honored to present Shana with this award and recognize her dedication to children; specifically to children with heart defects. Having a son of my own who was born with a heart condition makes my appreciation of her work even greater. Her love and compassion for our state’s young children is truly inspiring,” Jindal said.
“I cannot stress enough how much she brings to Camp Bon Coeur and we could not function without her,” said the camp’s executive director, Susannah Craig, who nominated Zanyk for the award. “She makes camp fun for all the kids, even if they have to spend time in the infirmary. She goes way above and beyond and because she is such an excellent nurse, she eases minds of the camp parents who entrust their children to her care.”
Zanyk received a certificate of appreciation as well as a basket of gifts donated by area businesses.
In addition, Jindal said, Zanyk and other 2012 award recipients will have their names placed in a drawing, the winner of which will receive a four-day cruise compliments of Carnival Cruise Lines.
Zanyk said it was an honor to receive the First Lady’s Award, as well as a big surprise.
“I was totally surprised. The really managed to keep it a secret from me. I knew something was going on, but I didn’t know what,” Zanyk said.
Zanyk said she began by volunteering for one day at the camp seven years ago, then two days the next year, until she began volunteering on site for the entire duration of the camp.
“I absolutely love the kids here; they do so much for kids with a heart condition, and at the end of camp, I always leave happy,” Zanyk added.
Camp Bon Coeur, founded in 1985, is a two-week long camp hosts children ages seven to 16 with congenital heart conditions, offering numerous summer camp activities while meeting each camper’s individual health needs.
For more information on the camp, visit online www.goodheart.com
For more information on the Jindal Foundation, or to submit a nomination for the First Lady’s Award, visit online www.jindalfoundation.org.