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For Immediate Release

Scars Are a Common Bond at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Annual Summer Camp for Transplant Recipients

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Camp Chihopi is the highlight of the summer for many young transplant patients around the country who have spent much of their lives battling disease.

Camp Chihopi, Children's annual summer camp for children who have received organ transplants, provides kids with a fun environment where they can learn to adapt and cope with medical routines and chronic care while also taking steps toward returning to childhood.

Camp Chihopi will take place from Friday, Aug. 5 - Monday, Aug. 8, 2005, at Emma Kauffman Camp located on Cheat Lake near Morgantown, W.Va.

Camp Chihopi was created by Children's Liver and Intestine Transplant Team in 1995. The name of the camp is short for Chi ldren's Ho spital of Pi ttsburgh. Beverly Park, RN, CRNP, camp director and clinical nurse specialist in the Department of Transplantation at Children's, said camp is a vital part of the healing process for transplant patients and encourages transplant patients to attend.

Every summer, more than 70 kids from all across the United States gather at this one of a kind camp to swim, dance, ride horses and play sports. The campers enjoy a typical summer camp experience with other campers and counselors who have had similar experiences with organ transplants, rejection and immunosuppression medication. In fact, starting in 2002, Children's began a Counselor in Training program to encourage teenage transplant recipients to act as counselors and role models for younger campers.

"Camp allows these kids, all who have been through numerous challenging medical and emotional experiences, to come together with other children who have similar histories in a fun setting," said George V. Mazariegos, MD, the camp's medical director and director of pediatric transplantation at Children's. "For much of their lives, especially when they are young, our patients may feel different from their peers because of their unique medical conditions. Coming to camp helps to develop a sense of identity and acceptance."

Camp Chihopi is just one of the many avant-garde programs that makes Children's a world leader in the care of children. Children's has not only performed more transplants than any other pediatric transplant center in the world, but it also has achieved patient survival rates that are among the highest in the nation.

Learn more information about Camp Chihopi and watch a camp video.

Learn more about the Transplantation Programs at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Julia Weiskopf, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008