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For Immediate Release

Kids with Heart Disease Prepare to Tackle the Confidence-Building "Trail of Courage" at Children's Hospital's Annual Heart Camp

Kids with complicated heart conditions can still enjoy a traditional summer camp experience - including fishing, softball and campfires - at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's annual Heart Camp.

Heart Camp, established in 1991 by Children's Hospital for kids with heart disease, will be held from June 15 to 19, 2004, at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Fombell, Pa. Campers ages 8 to 16 will have opportunities to interact with other children and counselors who share similar experiences with heart disease.

Campers are able to interact with their doctors and nurses in a fun, non-medical setting. The medical staff will answer questions about individual heart conditions using simple language that children can understand.

"Heart Camp is a fun opportunity for these kids to spend time with other kids who share similar medical issues. It also is a great learning experience as the campers are encouraged to talk to doctors and nurses about their illness," said Gerard Boyle, MD, a cardiologist at Children's and medical director of Heart Camp. "The camp aims to provide kids with a brighter outlook for the future."

Camp Kon-O-Kwee spans 300 wooded acres and includes a swimming pool, lake and numerous trails. Activities at Heart Camp include paddle-boating, hayrides, campfires, a carnival, sports, arts and crafts, Camp Olympics and a child-friendly "Trail of Courage" obstacle course that helps build confidence. Group discussions provide campers with the opportunity to talk about issues and concerns related to their disease with their peers. All activities will be supervised by physicians, nurses, and other members of Children's staff.

The volunteer camp director, Keith McIntire, 45, is the oldest surviving heart disease patient still treated at Children's. He was born without a pulmonary valve. He has received two replacement valves at Children's and continues to be treated there.

Heart Camp is a program of the Heart Center at Children's. The Heart Center cares for infants, children and young adults with all types of heart disease and for adults with congenital heart disease including many who have undergone heart transplants. The Heart Center provides services such as ECG, exercise physiology assessments, echocardiography, fetal cardiology assessments and cardiac catheterization along with interventional and electrophysiological catheterization procedures.

Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 19, 2008
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Last Update
February 19, 2008