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Review for The Heart Connection, Des Moines, IA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Heart Connection Camp is a place that is impossible to describe its meaning and magnitude. The organization works so hard all year long to touch hundreds of children's and families' lives in and out of Iowa. I've attended the Oncology Camp since I was five and have been there for 14 summers, and I am still in awe of the experiences I've had. It's a week where kids with any type of cancer, regardless of the stage of their treatment, can go and be kids. They don't have to worry about being gawked at because they have no hair or they have only one leg. These kids get to have a week all to them, and just be a normal kid. The staff works incredibly hard to get every kid to participate in everything possible. I've seen a girl in a wheelchair do the zipline, and kids with prosthetic legs ride a horse. These kids can choose to ignore the fact that they have cancer, or they can bond with those around them who know what's going on. I've seen a group of young girls talk about their ports and what they named them. It's an incredible week, that for many of these kids, is one of the best weeks out of their year. It's a loving atmosphere where kids can talk with others who can truly say "I understand."

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

mothers' eyes as they tear up just talking about the indescribable week their child had at camp, and how thankful they are that their child was able to have that experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make sure the campers and families were my first priority. I would want them to feel safe and excited as they plan for and experience camp.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Growing with the organization. I started with it 14 years ago, and am now happy to say I have come back on staff to serve the camp that gave so much to me.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredible people with the biggest hearts. They are there to give, give, give to these kids.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help ease the costs it takes to put camp on every summer. It could take some money and spread awareness about their program, as well as childhood cancer. It could give a push to finding a cure.

Ways to make it better...

I'd had more time there.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

raising awareness of the organization itself, and also the concept of childhood cancer.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this week is treasured by so many. It's phenomenal!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Client Served & I was a camper touched by The Heart Connection for 13+ years. After graduating from my camper position, I volunteered on staff to have a chance be a light in a dark time to these kids that may be struggling, and to give back for how much camp has given me.