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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Summer Camp for Transplant Recipients Offers Sun, Fun, and Halloween

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Camp Chihopi has been a bright spot in the lives of transplant recipients, giving them the opportunity to attend summer camp just like other children.

Camp Chihopi, to be held this year from August 8 – 11, lets transplant recipients run, swim and play like any other child at summer camp. Camp Chihopi is held at Emma Kaufmann Camp located on Cheat Lake near Morgantown, W.Va. In addition to the traditional summer camp activities, campers this year will have a chance to experience Halloween in August, with a costume party and prizes awarded in different categories.

Camp Chihopi, named after CHIldren’s HOspital of PIttsburgh, was started nine years ago by the liver and intestine transplant team at Children’s. Jorge Reyes, MD, director of liver and intestine transplantation at Children’s, helped establish Camp Chihopi nine years ago.

“We started Camp Chihopi to give our transplant recipients a chance to be like other kids who share similar experiences and medicines,” Dr. Reyes said. “Camp Chihopi goes beyond the average summer camp experience by catering to the individual needs of transplant patients while showing them that they can do the same things as other kids.”

Beverly Park, RN, CRNP, camp director and clinical nurse specialist of the department of transplant surgery at Children’s, said there are many challenges children face after receiving a transplant.

“Some parents view their children as fragile for years after transplant surgery,” Park said. “We take into account their medical conditions, and can still give those kids the chance to play and participate in outdoor activities like any other summer camp.”

This year, nearly 75 campers will swim, boat, play sports, ride horses and enjoy evening cookouts while sharing their medical experiences with other kids and adults who share similar experiences. Counselors in Training, a program that began last summer that encourages teenage transplant recipients to act as counselors and role models, will return for a second summer after its successful debut.

Camp Chihopi is just one of many programs that make Children’s Department of Transplant Surgery a unique world leader. In May 1981, a team of surgeons at Children’s transplanted a liver into a 2-year-old boy from Tennessee. Two decades later, Children’s has performed more than 1,600 transplants in children – more than any other pediatric transplant center in the world. Children’s offers liver, intestine, liver-intestine, kidney, kidney-pancreas, heart, lung, heart-lung and blood and bone marrow transplants.

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

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008