This camp was featured on an episode of ER - it is a real life camp that helps children with Heart Disease.
Camp del Corazon is a 501(c)3
non-profit organization that provides year-round
opportunities for children faced with the challenges of
growing up and living with heart disease. What began
with a volunteer staff of only 2 members, 49 campers and
a very minimal budget in 1995 has grown to serve over
500 children from around the country each year.
Our camp is
located on Catalina Island, 22 miles off the California coastline. We are a medically
supervised, experiential summer camp for children ages 7-17. In addition to our camp programs, we
also provide opportunities for growth, education and
support for young adults ages 18-25 going through
transitional changes into adulthood.
The children served by Camp del Corazon are not
eligible for the summer camping experience offered by
other member agencies of the American Camping
Association due to the fact that they require
round-the-clock medical supervision and care. Many of
these children have had several open-heart surgeries,
pacemakers, and/or heart transplants, and many face
several more surgeries in their futures. These
children and their families live every day knowing
that they are at a high-risk for mortality. Our camp
offers an opportunity to finally be ‘normal,’ to
forget their ailments and to connect with others who
have had similar experiences and scars.
For most of
these children, this is the only experience they have
away from home, as they are often too sick to go on
vacations or to even stay overnight at a friend’s
house, away from their parents, who have to monitor
their health on a 24-hour basis. Parents of children
with heart conditions are often fearful that
activities enjoyed by ‘normal’ kids could be harmful.
There are very few camps with the ability or medically
trained staff to provide for these special needs
children, or places that their parents would trust.
All programs are offered free-of-charge as the families
affected by this disease already incur incredible
financial burdens from medical bills and often have to
seek private or home schooling due to the numerous
doctor appointments and hospital stays their children
require. We are a grass-roots organization that is
funded entirely through individuals, corporations and
fundraisers. We receive no government funding or
aid. Our programs are staffed entirely by
volunteer doctors, nurses and counselors.
For more information on Camp del
Corazon, please visit us at