“Fun Helps Us Heal” – Time for Transplant Camp

News story from our Transplant Camp. KCRB, North Bay Public Radio’s Rhian Miller visited St. Dorothy’s Rest this week to learn more about this very special place.

Listen here:

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Talk to children who are alive and well because they have received a heart, liver, lung or kidney transplant and you’ll experience one of the miracles of life. Fifty such children, ages 8 to 18, are at our 22nd annual Solid Organ Transplant Summer Camp this week. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is a national leader in pediatric organ transplantation, having performed more transplant operations over the past five years than any other pediatric center in the United States. We sponsor this camp to give kids who’ve spent a large part of their young lives in hospitals a chance to enjoy being children.

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Transplant camp takes place among the redwoods at St. Dorothy’s Rest and includes fun activities like swimming, crafts, scavenger hunts, sports, campfires and more. Because many of the attendees’ have complex medical regimens, seven hospital nurses also go along, but parents and doctors stay behind.

The camp is often a transformational experience for the children. “It’s where being a kid comes first and having a transplant comes second,” said coordinator Kirsten Cotton-Sheldon, recreation therapy and child-life specialist at the hospital. Twelve-year-old Parker Gomez is looking forward to his third year at the camp. He really has fun there and enjoys eating good food and seeing the friends he has met over the years. Eleven years ago, his mother, Sandy Gomez, gave him one of her kidneys. Sandy was born at Stanford Hospital, and she was glad Parker was transferred to Packard Children’s for life-saving treatment after he was born with polycystic kidney disease.

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Teenagers Kamaria and Khalieghya both had liver transplants at Packard Children’s when they were only a few months old. This is their eighth year attending camp, where they value the chance to connect with other kids like them. Fifteen-year-old Kiley is also an 8-year camp veteran. She had her kidney transplant when she was 8 years old and feels camp is “like having a second family because you can connect with everyone and they can relate.”

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Help support Transplant Camp!

For two weeks this summer, August 22 – September 3, 2016, Stanford Blood Center will help fund the Annual Solid Organ Transplant Camp for every blood donor they see at their mobile drives and center sites.

Discover more about our Transplant Center.

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2 Responses to ““Fun Helps Us Heal” – Time for Transplant Camp”

  1. Sandy Gomez

    Thank you for including us in your story. Transplant camp is an amazing opportunity for these superstar kids to just be kids.

    Reply
  2. Roel cunanan

    Such an awesome story! Can’t wait for this chapter’s conclusion and the beginning of the next. My daughter, Danica, is there with you guys on her second year camping. She was diagnosed July 2013 with end stage renal disease and had a transplant the following year. My baby brother stepped up and donated his kidney to her. It’s such a joy to see my daughter thrive once again.

    Reply

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