After his first year at Camp Systole, a camp for children with congenital heart defects, 10-year-old Parker Cappel asked his mother how the camp affords to stay open. When she told him it was funded by donations and free to the children, he decided he needed to do his part to keep the camp open. He began collecting donations so that other children with heart defects could have the same great experience he had. Parker Cappel is the BANK VI Hero of the Week.
Parker had his first heart surgery at just one week old. He was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning the left ventricle of his heart is underdeveloped.
According to his mother, Lori, he has already had three heart surgeries and will likely need a transplant before he graduates high school.
Parker has also been diagnosed with autism, attention deficit disorder and an immune deficiency. But that doesn’t slow him down in the classroom, where he excels at math, science and music. Parker skipped a grade at the advice of his teachers, is a self-taught pianist and will be one of the youngest drummers in his middle school.
This summer marked Parker’s second trip to Camp Systole. But this trip, he was able to bring a vehicle full of snacks and drinks for the kids. According to Lori, he made it his goal to raise $1,500 for Camp Systole, so that other children can continue to have the same experience he had.
In just a few days he raised $500, enough to fund one camper’s overnight stay. With matching donations from Salina Guns and Hoses and Camps for Kids, Parker was able to raise $2,000.
The camp, located in Lawson, MO., provides children with heart defects the full camp experience of swimming, zip lining and overnight activities. The camp is free to the children and has a full staff of cardiologists, who are all volunteers. Lori said there are two other girls from Salina who attend the camp.
Parker said he plans to continue to raise money the summer camp because he enjoys the pranks and overnight activities, even though he usually leaves with swimmers ear.