On monday we discussed how to raise philanthropic children and I thought today I would share with you one of the best examples I know. His name is Max Page.
I met Max because he and my son are both Junior Ambassadors for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Max has been a patient at CHLA many times in his short 7 years of life for multiple heart surgeries. The world knows Max as little Darth Vadar but what everyone doesn’t know is how huge that little heart really is.
Max’s parents Jennifer and Buck have guided Max and his little brother, Els, in doing things big and small for others. They have donated their birthday gifts every year, they participate in walks and runs for causes they care about and the entire family uses their voice to bring attention to causes they care about.
The Page family has taught by example the ripple effect of giving. They realized that the force comes from combining caring with action and that we all possess it. I hope the force is with you and your families throughout this holiday season.
Have you ever been invited to an event when someone is being honored? I was recently invited to something for a friend of mine, who is one of those very generous souls that does so much with no attention to himself. He is being honored by Camp del Corazon.
As I am beginning to think of my children’s summer plans, I wanted to know more about this place. This camp isn’t just for anyone but for children who have congenital heart disease and typically can not experience camp or exercise in many cases. My friend knows about this first hand as his child has also had multiple surgeries.
Camp del Corazon (Camp of the Heart) was inspired by a patient, of Dr. Kevin Shannon, who had undergone an operation that dramatically improved the function of his heart but he was still suffering from emotional pain. He was back in school, back in little league baseball but he was so embarrassed by his scars that he wouldn’t remove his shirt.
Dr. Shannon felt that if his patient could spend time with other kids who’d had heart surgery, he’d be less self-conscious. When Dr. Shannon discussed the situation with Lisa Knight, R.N., her solution was simple: “We can do that.” And so they did.
This doctor and nurse set about fund-raising to ensure that the medically-supervised summer camp would be free for children ages 7-17 who had heart disease. When Camp del Corazon began in 1995, they had 49 campers on beautiful Catalina Island , today the camp has close to 300 campers. Camp del Corazon is staffed completely by volunteer counselors, nurses, and physicians who give of their hearts to help these special kids.
Camp del Corazon has grown into a non-profit dedicated to providing programs for children and families living with heart disease. A camp that more than lives up to its name, just like those that support it. Big hearts all the way around.
When I set out to tell the stories of these inspirational people who have taken their pain and turned it into compassion I never knew where it would lead. I wanted to share with you this beautiful follow up from Francie Paul, the founder of Saving Tiny Hearts.Org
Here is Francie’s note:
Thank YOU for your beautiful post- we are extremely honored to have Saving tiny Hearts featured.
We did have high profile malpractice attorneys at our doorstep…practically before we were out of the hospital from Joshua’s firstheart surgery…it wasn’t who we were…our life’s mission came out of the greatest need for medicine and science into heart defects to catch up to support all children, like our little love, afflicted with heart defects.
Starting the Saving tiny Hearts Society began before our Joshua’s second heart surgery (- he has had 3) at 3 months old, after pediatric heart surgeons told us that there was a desperate need to fund research, that young hungry scientists were being turned down for government funding because they didn’t have enough monies to beef up their revolutionary proposals….which is where we would come in, to provide the seed money for it all.
Most people don’t realize that so many babies and children do not survive because of lack of research to save them. We didn’t know that it was the #1 birth defect in the world and the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths….we didn’t know that it could happen to our baby.
Someone had raised funds for research for us 30 years ago and our baby was given a chance to live. Ten years from now will be a whole different ball game into medicine, science and technology into heart defect research. We don’t want to wait for what doctors say ‘will be….’ we want to fund research to change the future for ‘what can be…’ for all children, like my beautiful Joshua suffering from heart disease. Out of our heartache, there is hope….
I don’t know if you had seen the movie ‘Something the Lord Made’ but it was an HBO movie about one of the very first heart surgeries ever performed, the Blalock-Taussig Shunt (-BT Shunt). It was the very first successful heart surgery that began with a blue baby as doctors were afraid to touch the heart and felt that of these babies wouldn’t live otherwise, so they would try this most revolutionary procedure on a baby first. Nearly 60 years later,at 4 days old, after our baby was stabilized, he had a Blalock-Taussig shunt.
We can’t thank you enough for sharing our story; it has truly been a humbling journey for us and in the greatest of heartache, we have seen the very best in friends. Can’t wait to read more Charity Matters and see all of the amazing things that are happening because of you.