Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s Summer Camp Celebrates Transplant Recipients

August 4, 2016

Transplant patients from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC will soon take part in Camp Chihopi, the hospital’s annual summer camp for liver and/or intestine transplant recipients.

Now in its 22nd year, Camp Chihopi gives participants the opportunity to enjoy a summer camp experience. More than 50 kids from across the United States attend and take part in activities such as swimming, crafts, campfires, obstacle courses, horseback riding and sports. This year’s camp will be held Aug. 11 to 14 at Emma Kaufmann Camp near Morgantown, West Virginia.

"Year after year, we are thrilled to have our transplant patients—whether they are longtime campers or campers experiencing it for the first time—enjoy a summer camp experience and interact with kids who have similar backgrounds in a relaxed, non-medical setting,” said George V. Mazariegos, M.D., chief, pediatric transplantation at Children’s. “Camp provides the opportunity to make these children feel positive about their futures without the fear of being judged by others.”

Camp Chihopi provides a non-medical environment where campers can increase self-esteem, build relationships with peers and increase their understanding of their health care experiences. The camp aims to help children continue to adapt to their chronic conditions as they mature into young adults. It is primarily staffed by older transplant recipients as well as Children’s nurses, physician assistants, doctors and other community volunteers.

Jakob Jasin of Ashburn, Virginia, the first patient with the metabolic disorder of maple syrup urine disease who received a liver transplant at Children's in 2004, said Camp Chihopi is a place where kids share a common bond.

“As I go into my fourth year of camp, I look forward to seeing my friends and meeting new campers who have had a similar transplant experience as me,” said Jasin, 16. “Camp has become a sense of belonging to me, reminding me of my own transplant experience and how I can now lead a normal life and enjoy each and every day to the fullest.”

Camp Chihopi is one example of Children's dedication to providing family centered care. As an international leader, the hospital has performed more transplants than any other pediatric transplant center, achieving patient outcomes that are highest in the world or among the world’s best. Children’s is the leader in liver transplants as a treatment for metabolic disease, having transplanted more patients than any other center, including adult facilities.

Media interested in covering the camp during the week should contact Andrea Kunicky at