ROCKVILLE, Md. (July 19, 2022) — Starting this month, 250 children and teens from across the United States will be participating in the American Kidney Fund's (AKF) first national virtual camp, providing an opportunity for them to share their experiences living with kidney disease and increase their confidence and self-esteem.
The 60 virtual camp activities, which will take place over a year in conjunction with at least four hospitals nationwide, also provide an opportunity to form friendships with peers who have shared experiences and can help reduce social isolation and loneliness exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that each year, 1 in 65,000 children in the United States have kidney failure, which can only be treated by dialysis or transplantation.
Pediatric patients served by Johns Hopkins Children's Center (Maryland), Cincinnati Children's (Ohio), Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford (California) and Phoenix Children's (Arizona) will be enrolled in the camps.
"Children with kidney disease face many challenges due to the life-altering nature of this condition, and research has shown there is a higher prevalence of depression in children with kidney disease," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "We are not only thrilled to be able to provide these kids with the chance to make lasting bonds with others with similar stories, but we're also honored to play a role in creating fun, memorable moments for this special group."
The national virtual camp builds on the success of 2020 and 2021's Camp All Stars — held in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Children's Center — which were converted to a virtual model as necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2022, AKF expanded the program to include at least three additional hospitals around the country that care for pediatric patients.
Children enrolled in the camps receive a camp kickoff backpack with earbuds, a wireless charging station, coloring journal, water bottle and other items. Throughout the year, they'll participate in a variety of virtual activities such as art classes, bingo, and trivia. Each virtual event will be staffed by a healthcare professional from the participants' hospital.
The virtual camps are made possible with support from the Robert I. Schattner Foundation.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.