By Gynna P. Gagelonia
“Resilience: Heart Warriors beyond Adversities” emphasized the Filipino trait that no hurdle - be it physical limits, disheartening circumstances or daunting challenges - can keep us from emerging not just as survivors but as victors in life.
The theme of the 6th Camp BraveHeart held on 18 February in Antipolo, which was part of the 2012 celebration of the Heart Month, conveyed the message to kids with congenital heart diseases, as well as information about their heart conditions, in an empowering and enjoyable way.
The PHA Council on Congenital Heart Disease, chaired by Dr. Jonas Del Rosario, in collaboration with the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity and Phi Lambda Delta Sorority of the UP College Of Medicine, organized the yearly one-day event held at the Cristina Villas Mountain Resort.
Sixty children with their parents participated in the program that kicked off with the dentists from the Philippine Dental Association San Juan Chapter giving away free toothbrushes to the kids and teaching them the proper way of brushing their teeth.
The children and student volunteers took part in a survivor-themed race that included team-building activities and mind games and enjoyed the different activities, while learning valuable lessons such as teamwork, patience, and determination. Some of the kids, with the supervision of their parents, reveled in the swimming pool, while some let their adventurous side take over and tried rappelling, wall climbing and zip lining.
While the kids were at the race, the parents were at the conference room listening to lectures that furthered their knowledge as to how they should take care of their children. Aside from the lectures given by the pediatric cardiologists, there was also a inspirational talk given bySarah Ocson, a parent whose son Inigo underwent an open-heart surgery when he was only eight days old; and Dr. Nicolo Agustin, a medical student who had a successful closure of a hole in his heart one year ago. Celebrity mom Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan did not simply grace the occasion; she also told the audience that she can relate with the other parents because one of her sons had undergone heart operation.
At the end of the day, the kids left not just with giveaways but with a smile on their faces, love in their hearts and courage to face every day not just as survivors but also as victors in life.