See how one special camp gives children with heart disease a summer they’ll never forget.
Female Speaker 1: zuma Catherin is taking aim at a new target living with the transplanted heart. Female Speaker 2: It’s all new, everything is new and just like your first day at high school. Female Speaker 1: Zuma was a healthy 15-year old when she grew weak from an enlarged heart. Once doctors diagnosed her, a donor heart became available within a few weeks. Female Speaker 2: Yeah, I’m 16 now. It’s going to normal but you know you will get used to a lot of things. I take the medication, every thing, just part of life. Female Speaker 1: In fact, heart disease is part of life for all of these children. Male Speaker 1: Here we go, have fun. Female Speaker 1: They are at summer camp doing what any typical child would do but they are anything with typical. Male Speaker 2: My heart was enlarged, it was backwards and I have hole in my ventricles. Male Speaker 3: Hypoplastic left heart Norwood. Male Speaker 4: I have a pacemaker, ASD VSD double left right ventricle secundum versus a lot of things. Female Speaker 1: If you look closely, you will see most have a tell-tale scar running down their chest. Male Speaker 5: I had down placement recently like 3, 4 years ago. Female Speaker 1: The kids referred to them as their battle scars. Cyrus Samai: It’s their badge of honor and lot of them have other scars throughout the rest of their chest. Female Speaker 2: People have to be educated about it because the way I can educate people is way my scar allowed. Female Speaker 1: Back home, these boys and girls may feel alone. Here, at Camp Braveheart about an hour east of Atlanta, they find out they are not unusual. Shannon Chapman: It’s really a great opportunity for them to share their experiences and realize that they not the only ones out there who are dealing with multiple hospital visits and limited activity and multiple medications. Cyrus Samai: And sometimes parents maybe very cautious about their child because they always have been treated as a fragile person and so they maybe more strict and they should be. Female Speaker 1: Having medical staff on site means parents back home don’t have to worry while their kids come close and have fun. However there are some reminders even at camp of the realities they face. Female Speaker 1: What are you guys trying to dig here? Male Speaker 2: Making big holes for benches and the benches are going to go in memory of the campers. Female Speaker 1: Would you know the campers? Male Speaker 2: Yeah. Female Speaker 1: These young men between ages of 15 and 18 are camp veterans. There are other veteran campers here like Tiana Hill, Zuma Catherine’s new friend. Between the two of them, they have had four heart transplants. Tiana Hill: I have my first transplant when I was three, the day before my fourth birthday but proceeded to have my pacemaker when I was 11 months old and I have my second chance when I was 10 years old and my third transplant when I am 13. Female Speaker 1: How are you doing now? Tiana Hill: Great. Female Speaker 1: It’s been a long road for all these kids but like Zuma they remained confident about what lies ahead. Female Speaker 2: It’s great, it’s good. Leave me alone, I’m not going anywhere.