Almost 130 children, ages 8 to 12 years old, recently attended “Camp Pump It Up,” a camp for patients with cardiac disease and their siblings.
In existence for almost 20 years, the camp has grown allowing more children to experience a weekend away with other children with heart disease. For many the camp is their first time away from home due to medical concerns, which can be managed by the medical team at camp, but would be an issue at other camps without a specialized medical team.
“Having been the physician for many of them, it is very evident how much this weekend means both to the patients but also to their families,” said Dr. Heather Dickerson, camp director and Texas Children’s cardiologist. “What this camp does for these children has kept me coming back and supporting camp for all of these years.”
During the three-day camp, campers experience horseback riding, zip lining, canoeing, fishing and archery, among other activities, for the first time, giving them to the opportunity to forget for a short time about medicines, clinic visits, tests, surgeries and all else that is involved with having a chronic disease. Long-term friendships often are formed they find out they’re not alone and that there are other children with the same issues.
Staff attending the camp were from the following departments:
Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
Congenital Heart Surgery
Occupational and Physical Therapy
Residents, patients and friends of Texas Children’s
Baylor College of Medicine staff members