Sansum Clinic Celebrates Success of Camp Wheez 2022 Serving Children With Asthma

Camp Wheez 2022 campers, counselors and volunteers | Credit: Courtesy

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August, 2022 (Santa Barbara, CA) Camp Wheez celebrated its 45th year this August by welcoming 19 children for a week of fun and asthma education hosted at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara. This free community program gives youth with asthma the chance to experience all the fun of a summer camp in a safe environment designed to meet their special needs. Campers also gain the knowledge and skills to confidently manage their asthma so they can lead healthy, active lives. Under the leadership of Sansum Clinic Allergist and Immunologist and Camp Wheez Medical Director Myron Liebhaber, MD, the camp operates safely with assistance from volunteer physicians, allergists, respiratory therapists and nurses. This year, we also welcomed Cottage Children’s Medical Center Pediatric Residents to Camp Wheez for the first time. Eleven high-school volunteer counselors managed the campers and guided them through the week’s activities, while ensuring they stayed safe. Many children who attended Camp Wheez in their younger years have gone on to become counselors and supporters. “We could not have asked for a more capable and wonderful group,” commented Dr. Liebhaber. “This is a true community effort, and we’re incredible grateful for the many donors, volunteers and supporters who have made Camp Wheez possible for this long.”

Campers participated in many activities including Arts & Crafts, Games & Recreation, Cooking Lab, Lung Lab and Lung Class. Several special guests shared unique and exciting educational experiences.

Camp Wheez Medical Director, Myron Liebhaber, MD, meets Athena, a rescued barn owl and ambassador for Eyes in the Sky. | Credit: Courtesy

Highlights included:

·         Using a blender bike to make delicious smoothies

·         Learning how to manage asthma symptoms and properly take asthma medication

·         Getting soaked playing water games

·         Exploring how our lungs work by studying real life pig lungs

·         Meeting Puku, Athena and Max, owl education ambassadors from the Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s Eyes in the Sky program

·         Experiencing a marine life touch-tank exhibit from the UCSB’s MOBILE REEF Unit

Campers learn about local marine life provided by UCSB’s MOBILE REEF Unit | Credit: Courtesy

Parents and caregivers were invited to an Asthma Education Lunch where a panel of physicians including Dr. Jinny Chang, Dr. Victoria Eng and Dr. Luke Noronha, presented an update on pediatric asthma and answered attendees’ questions.

The fun, learning and science of Camp Wheez 2022 was made possible by the generous support of many community members and organizations including:

Volunteers:

Sansum Clinic Allergy Department

Cottage Health Respiratory Care Team

Luke Noronha, MD

Karen Acevedo, RN

Community volunteers and high school students

Donors:

Jim and Peggie Cox

Joey Flanagan Memorial Fund

Gail M. Grant

Karen Johnson, MD

Ernest Kolendrianos, MD

Myron Liebhaber, MD

Larry Rosen

Michael and Rania Shenoda

Swanton Foundation

Karen Thiessen

Community partners:

CenCal Health

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara

Explore Ecology

Food Bank of Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara Audubon Society

Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

UCSB Marine Science Institute

For more information about Camp Wheez and how you can support it, visit www.sansumclinic.org/camp-wheez or contact the Sansum Clinic Health Resource Center at (805) 681-7672.

Cottage Health Respiratory Care Practitioner, Elizabeth Hollen, leads an educational demonstration for campers using pig lungs. | Credit: Courtesy

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