For many students, the lessons that they learned at the Camp del Corazon in Catalina Island will stay with them. Usually, the kids with serious heart issues are not allowed to leave home, but at the Camp del Corazon in Santa Catalina Island, these children can find out how much they can do on their own.
Camp del Corazon is an organization in the island that offers residential, medically supervised summer camps for children between the ages 7 and 17 who are diagnosed with heart issues. The organization also offers additional programs for the families of these children. Camp del Corazon has served about three hundred children every year since 1995.
This year, Camp del Corazon has organized a camp that is all about heart. Parents waved their children good-bye at Berth, 95 in San Pedro, but it was really hard for the parents to let go. Angela Eiler of Yorba Linda said, “I just worry a little bit more about her condition than I would. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s always in the back of my head.” Eight years old daughter of Eiler, Myka has a congenital heart disorder. Her heart valve will not open or close on its own.
Leia William, who is a resident of West Sacramento, has a thirteen-year-old son who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The boy has had three open surgeries till date.
The boat to Catalina Island was filled with children who were heading to the island to take part in the Camp del Corazon. The island is just located 22 miles off the coast of San Pedro, California, but for many of these children, the island was another world as they have never been away from their homes.
Lisa Knight, who is a co-founder of the camp said, “We provide them a safe environment where they get a chance to test these limits and to do things that they probably have never done before.”
The children got a chance to meet other people on the same journey, like Krysta Falloun who also had heart issues and had a transplant. She said, “I really relate to the kids because I’ve been through the same doctor appointments and procedures that they’ve gone through.”
The camp is free and the 200+ volunteers of the camp are all volunteers. Prominent hotels in Catalina provide accommodation to the parents of these children.