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Pop-up hospital gives chronically ill kids a summer camp

National non-profit Rebecca’s Wish is bringing together doctors, nurses and lots of volunteers so children with paediatric pancreatitis have the medical support they need at summer camp

Summer 2024 – More than 100 children are expected to attend the 3rd year of Camp Hope— a one-of-a-kind summer camp that allows children and young people suffering from the painful condition of pediatric pancreatitis to experience all the joys of camp without limitations.

The five-day sleepaway camp was created in 2021 byRebecca’s Wish,the only non-profit organization supporting children with chronic, pediatric pancreatitis, and The National Pancreas Foundation. The camp serves as a place where children who often are very sick and frequently hospitalized can bond and build friendships in a fun and safe setting that includes a variety of summer camp activities including swimming, archery, horseback riding, crafts, zip-lining, basketball, tennis, photography, and more.

The camp includes a pop-up hospital and is staffed with medical volunteers including GI doctors, nurses, specialists, therapists, psychosocial experts and more. Volunteers give of their time to provide the complex medical care children need on-site including infusions, medications, monitoring and more.

“For most of the children attending Camp Hope, this is their first time going to camp and being away from home due to their pancreatitis and the severity of this disease,” explains Rebecca’s Wish CEO and camp founder Christyn Taylor, whose daughter has the same condition. “At Camp Hope children have fun, make friends and bond with others going through the same challenging medical experiences they are. As a result, they find respite and belonging—all while staying safe and healthy under the guidance and care of an extraordinary, on-site medical and psychosocial team.”

The third in-person session of Camp Hope takes place June 10–14, 2024 atMorgan’s Wonderland Campin San Antonio, Texas. More than 100 children between the ages of 8 and 18 are traveling from around the U.S. to take part this year in this free experience. Travel stipends are available for those who need financial assistance.

Camp Hope is the brainchild of Rebecca’s Wish Founder and CEO Christyn Taylor, who has raised more than $3 million dollars since 2018 to support families of children with pediatric pancreatitis to: advance cutting-edge medical research, fund fellowships to train doctors to treat patients, and create a summer camp for kids. Rebecca’s Wish is named after Christyn’s daughter Rebecca, who was 12 years old when she wished to help other children with the rare, little-known and excruciatingly painful condition she’s had since the age of seven.

Media interested in covering the camp should contact Laura Evans Media to coordinate.

About Rebecca’s Wish

Rebecca’s Wish has a three-pronged approach to bring hope to pediatric patients with chronic pancreatitis. It works to improve inpatient and outpatient care, provide charitable care and drive education and research into pediatric pancreatitis to find a cure, train doctors, develop more treatments and tools, advance transplants and more.

Since its inception in 2018, Rebecca’s Wish created and supports an endoscopic training program that has planted 6 skilled doctors around the country to treat children with acute pancreatitis. The non-profit authored a Pediatric Pancreas Passport Program, provides mental health care and genetic testing to families and launched the first-everCamp Hopewith the National Pancreas Foundation—creating a summer camp experience with the necessary and extensive medical support to make this experience possible for children with pancreatitis.

Christyn and Rebecca were awarded the2023 George H. W. Bush Points of Light Awardfor their advocacy efforts. Rebecca’s mother Christyn leads Rebecca’s Wish efforts to foster partnerships, drive advancements in treatment and care for young patients and provide hope and support through medical grants, scholarships and awareness campaigns. Rebecca has defied all odds. Doctors told her family that she wasn’t expected to live past the age of 12. Today she is 21. She has been hospitalized more than 1,500 days over 13 years for stretches, had 150 surgeries including a life-saving experimental pancreas transplant, had seven of her organs removed and nearly died multiple times. She is now a biomedical engineering major at Texas A&M University doing medical research to advance understanding and improve treatment options for others with pediatric pancreatitis.

Learn about this foundation and join the fight

About Pediatric Pancreatitis

Long thought to be extremely rare, it’s now estimated there are3 to 13 cases of pediatric pancreatitis in every 100,000 children.Chronic pancreatitis is a life-long affliction and progressive inflammatory disorder. There is no cure. It causes relentless and excruciating abdominal pain, vomiting and more. Severe cases require immediate hospitalization and intensive care treatment. The disease is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood because doctors don’t know to look for it in children and often confuse it with other conditions. Children often need a hospital stay and NPO status (not eating or drinking) plus IV pain medication. In severe cases, pancreas transplants, which are still considered an experimental procedure, may be required to save the child’s life.

Kimberly Lohman Clapp

Strategic Media & Outreach Director:Laura Evans Media

(202) 359-0885

Contact: Laura Evans Manatos

Contact: Jennifer Davis

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