Liver/Intestine Transplant Recipients Take Part in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s Summer Camp

August 10, 2015

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC transplant patients will soon depart for Camp Chihopi, Children’s Hospital’s annual summer camp for liver and/or intestine transplant recipients.

Camp Chihopi, now in its 21st year, gives Children’s liver and transplant patients the opportunity to enjoy a full camp experience. The camp is primarily staffed by older transplant recipients with camp experience as well as Children’s nurses, physician assistants, doctors and other community volunteers. Camp will be held Aug. 13 to 16 at Emma Kaufmann Camp near Morgantown, W.V.

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.

"This camp allows our transplant recipients, all of whom have been through numerous medical and emotional experiences, to meet other kids who have similar backgrounds in a relaxed, fun, non-medical setting,” said George V. Mazariegos, M.D., director, pediatric transplantation at Children’s. “Some of our patients may feel different from their friends because of their unique medical conditions, so coming to camp helps develop a sense of normalcy, independence and acceptance.”

More than 50 kids from across the United States attend this camp every year for swimming, crafts, campfires, obstacle courses, horseback riding and sports.

Ryan Samuelson, age 13, is going into his fourth year of Camp Chihopi. His father, Peter, explains his excitement for camp.

“Our family is so thankful for Camp Chihopi and how it lets transplant kids just be kids and not have to worry about their medical conditions,” said Peter. “Over the years, we have met families on the transplant unit of the hospital who are now experiencing camp, so it’s nice to see Ryan and the other kids enjoying and experiencing camp year after year. He is excited to go back and enjoy all of the camp activities.”

Camp Chihopi is one example of Children's dedication 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.

For more information on Camp Chihopi, please visit

Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919,