Kids go wild for Heart Heroes summer camp west of Edmonton

A new medically supervised camp near Edmonton is giving kids with heart disease a chance to run wild.

'It was super scary but I was super brave,' says 10 year old

‘For a five-star rating, I’d give this camp at least a 12’

5 years ago
Duration 1:03
17 children with congenital heart disease participate in a special three-day camp with their doctors, nurses and therapists working as counsellors.

When Cole Kehler unbuttons his shirt, there's no arguing his super hero status.

"I've been alive for 10 years with three open heart surgeries," says Cole, from Winnipeg, revealing a long scar running down the centre of his chest.

He's one of nearly 20 kids from Alberta, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories attending the first Heart Heroes Camp this weekend near Wabamun Lake.

The medically supervised camp gives kids a chance to enjoy swimming, canoeing, archery, climbing wall, ziplining. They can showcase one of their best traits — courage.

Cole's favourite new activity? Ziplining.

"It was super scary but I was super brave," says Cole. "And I really, really love it here ... I love this camp a lot."

Also at the camp are the children's nurses, therapists and physicians who have taken on the role of camp counsellors for the weekend.

Dr. Devin Chetan, pediatric resident and founder, says the weekend at Camp YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Centre allows staff to interact with the kids outside the hospital and aims to ease the burden on families.

"And really just gives them a chance to feel like normal kids," he says. "Because there are other kids here who've gone through the exact same thing they have."