Chrissie Endler from Camp del Corazon

Today’s guest, Chrissie Endler, Exec. Director of Camp del Corazon takes us on her journey about camp from being a kid that attended Camp del Corazon to her current position.  To begin with, Chrissie’s mom,  a UCLA Nurse Lisa “Xena” Knight co-founded the camp with UCLA Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Kevin “The Big Kahuna” Shannon in 1995. Chrissie does not have a heart condition, but she has a “huge heart” that has influenced her life’s passion.

What makes Camp del Corazon so special?

Camp del Corazon is an organization that provides a medically supervised, residential summer camp for children who are living with heart disease on Catalina Island, California.  At the end of each summer, between August and early September, 130 kids between the ages of 7-17 attend camp for 5 days and 4 nights. They have 3 back to back sessions.

Each session has 70-80 volunteer staff, which includes about 15 nurses and 2-3 cardiologists.  Many of the counselors were once, campers and therefore understand the significance of heart disease, from personal experience.

Imagine being a young person and feeling somewhat different from your school friends. Perhaps you have a large scar that runs down your chest and you don’t want your friends to see it.  Some scars are emotional. Maybe you require medical supervision. There is a shared medical language. Now thanks to Camp del Corazon, you can be a kid going to camp and enjoy the wide range of activities surrounded by new friends that understand.

Together with hospital staff in Los Angeles and Orange county young people are encouraged to attend Camp.

Camp del Corazon is not just a summer camp for kids 7-17. What happens if your 18 and you want to maintain a connection? That’s where P.A.C.E. comes in. Chrissie shares their united experiences as well.

Also, there are tons of resources around the country, one such camp that Chrissie mentioned was Camp Odayin.




If you are interested in attending an event for the first time or getting involved, consider the 3rd Annual Happy Hearts Festival. This will held on Saturday, February 22nd from 10:30-3:00 at the Edwards Lifesciences Headquarters, in Irvine CA. Together with other families, you can look forward to a day of fun, food, and heart education for the entire family!

How Can You Help?

Every non-profit relies on the generosity of its donors. Here is a direct link to make it easy for you to contribute on their DONATIONS PAGE 

 There are camp stories and Chrissie, “Penny Lane” has many to share. I hope you enjoy our show together!

What’s Your Story? Conversations + Connections = Community