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Young Buccaneers Set Sail For Big Adventures at Children’s Hospital’s Annual Summer Camp For Transplant Recipients

Dressed in bandannas, eye patches and tricorn hats, 60 pediatric transplant recipients from across the country will set sail – by bus to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s annual summer camp following a Pirates of the Caribbean themed brunch.

Camp Chihopi is a summer camp organized by Children's Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation for patients ages 7 through 17 who have received a liver and/or intestinal transplant. Patients come from as far away as South America to attend this annual camp. For four days, campers have the opportunity to swim, kayak, make crafts, build campfires, ride horses, play sports and enjoy a traditional summer camp experience.

This year, the 13th annual Camp Chihopi will take place from Friday, Aug. 3 – Monday, Aug. 6, 2007, at the Emma Kaufmann Camp on Cheat Lake near Morgantown, WV. The campers will depart from the Holiday Inn Select – University Center, 100 Lytton Ave., Oakland at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 3, 2007. Camp Chihopi, short for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, was created in 1995 by Children’s Liver and Intestine Transplant Team.

Beverly Kosmach-Park, MSN, CRNP, camp director and clinical nurse specialist at Children's transplantation center, said attending camp gives transplant recipients the opportunity to participate in normal childhood activities, and helps them develop independence, confidence and an acceptance of their illness.

“These kids have been in and out of hospitals much of their lives and they often feel different from their friends and peers at school,” Kosmach-Park said. “At Camp Chihopi kids don’t feel like outsiders because they get the chance to interact with others who have been through similar medical experiences, all the while having fun and being outdoors.”

George Mazariegos, MD, the Camp's medical director and director of pediatric transplantation at the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation, said that camp allows young transplant recipients to talk about their medical, emotional and social experiences in a comfortable setting. “Not only are our campers transplant recipients, but through our Counselor in Training Program, teenage transplant recipients can become junior counselors,” Dr. Mazariegos said. “The junior counselors are role models for our young camp-goers. They share their experiences, and give advice about growing up as transplant recipients.”

Camp Chihopi is just one example of Children's commitment to providing family-centered care. Children's has not only performed more transplants than any other pediatric transplant center in the world, but also is achieving patient survival rates that are among the highest in the nation.

Learn more about Camp Chihopi and Children’s Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation.George Mazariegoes, MD, biography


Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
May 29, 2008
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Last Update
May 29, 2008