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Video Length: 2:10 Minutes

How the Painted Turtle gives sick kids a complete summer camp experience

Kadin Hoven had his first kidney transplant when he was just nine months old. He had a second one about five years later, and a third one earlier this year. Born with kidney disease, Kadin has spent a good deal of his life in the hospital, on dialysis, or awaiting a transplant.

Having a child with a serious chronic illness can be difficult, both emotionally and financially. But Kadin and his family found an escape: The Painted Turtle camp in Lake Hughes, California.

The Painted Turtle is a year-round camp where children with serious and life-limiting medical conditions can go to just be kids again. The Painted Turtle has helped more than 47,000 children and their families have fun and create bonds with other kids who are going through similar health issues.

“The Painted Turtle is a place where Kadin doesn’t feel different,” says Shawn Hoven, Kadin’s father.

“He’s around all these other kids, and they can relate to each other. They have similar stories and go through similar procedures. He feels like he’s not the only one who has to take medications and get all these shots. But at camp, that’s the norm. For him, it’s a relief to know he’s not alone.”

Kadin’s mother, Heidi, says it was a relief to have quality medical care on site. “Even when he was on dialysis, they’d do dialysis there,” she says.

“As a parent, we didn’t have to worry — his doctors are there, his nurses are there, we know the team and he knows the team, so there’s such a familiarity. That really means a lot for all of us.”

The Painted Turtle camp is a member of Paul Newman’s renowned SeriousFun Children’s Network and has been operating since 2004. Kids and their families attend the camp free of charge, thanks to donations and generous support from Newman’s Own Foundation.

“At camp, he does everything: the rope course, archery. One year they had a baking and cooking class and I still hear about that. He loves socializing and playing with the camp counselors,” says Heidi.

“Whenever I see Newman’s Own, I buy that brand now, and I’m trying to encourage my family as well because of what Newman’s Own does,” Heidi says. “I look at their products differently because I know what it stands for. And not just for my family, but the other kids who go to camp.”

The Painted Turtle logo

The Painted Turtle is a year-round nonprofit camp for children with serious medical conditions and a member of the SeriousFun Children's Network, founded by Paul Newman. All campers and their families attend camp free of charge.

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