Lilian Lucy and Piel, both 3 years old, and other children survivors of heart diseases had a blast at the Manila Ocean Park recently as they were celebrated for their courage during the 13th edition of Camp Braveheart.
With the theme “The Hero Within,” the 13th Camp Braveheart last February was staged by Allianz Philippines, the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) and the Philippine Society of Pediatric Cardiology (PSPC).
Dr. Maricel Regino, chairman of the Council on Congenital Heart Disease, said that Camp Braveheart is a program that seeks to encourage children who were born with heart disease and underwent surgery to live a normal life like other kids.
Conceptualized in 2007, it seeks to help post-surgical children with heart diseases to transition from a life of limited activity and exposure to one with vision, hope and fruitful experience.
“They serve as inspiration to others who want to live a good life after surgery,” she said during the opening of Camp Braveheart.
Dr. Regino was joined in the event by Dr. Aurelia Leus, PHA vice president; Dr. Ninfa Villanueva, president of the PSPC; and Gino Riola, senior vice president and head of Market Management Center of Excellence of Allianz Asia.
This is the second year that Allianz Philippines has partnered with the PHA, with Camp Braveheart just one of the projects that it is supporting.
“We at Allianz believe in paying it back in the communities we operate in. Camp Braveheart is among the causes we are privileged to contribute to. It was personally a heartwarming experience for me to be surrounded by brave and happy children cared for by loving families and doctors. Their smiles and excitement were certainly contagious,” Riola said.
For this year’s celebration of the Heart Month, Allianz Philippines has been declared the PHA’s official life insurance partner.
“The PHA has advocacies that resonate with our corporate social responsibility aspirations in the Philippines. We are privileged to be their partner in promoting a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos,” Riola added.
“We are fortunate to have been invited to Camp Braveheart. I hope that they would continue activities like this for post-operation kids,” Lilian’s mom, Locelyn Espiritu, said. Lilian has been diagnosed with ventricular septal defect
She added that they were already looking forward to next year’s Camp Braveheart.
Piel’s mom, MJ Akron, was likewise thankful for the event as it introduced her to other parents with children that have been diagnosed with heart disease. Piel has been diagnosed with critical pulmonary stenosis. They were encouraged to join Camp Braveheart by Piel’s doctor, Dr. Jose Jonas del Rosario of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital.
“As parents, we have to learn how to let go for them to learn on their own. I wish that Piel would continue to get well so he won’t undergo anymore procedures,” MJ added.
Staying true to its theme this year, Camp Braveheart celebrated the children who, despite their young age, continue to show strength in the face of difficulties.
This year’s activities included an Oceanarium tour, Sea Lion Show, Shark and Ray Dry Encounter, Creepy Crawlies, games, and face painting. Parents also had a fun time participating in the financial literacy exercise conducted by Allianz Philippines volunteer employees and learning about Cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They also attended a lecture on the 52100 Campaign, which encourages people to lead a healthy lifestyle by having five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, having only two hours of screen time, doing an hour of physical activity, avoiding sugary and sweetened beverages, and saying no to both smoking and secondhand smoking.