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H1N1 'Swine Flu' Leads to Cancellation of HIV/AIDS Summer Camp. One Heartland Announces Campaign to Fund Alternative Camp Session for 82 Children.
Date:7/27/2009

WILLOW RIVER, Minn., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- One Heartland recently notified 82 children affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty just hours before they were scheduled to travel to Willow River, Minnesota that their camp session was cancelled. The session, part of the organization's Camp Heartland program, was cancelled after two volunteer counselors were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the Swine Flu.

One Heartland has launched the "Alternative Session Fund" which asks people nationwide to help make replacement camp opportunities possible. Monetary donations are being accepted online at www.oneheartland.org. Those who may want to discuss additional types of support are encouraged to call 800-724-4673 or helpkids@campheartland.org

"Our first priority was the safety of our campers and volunteers and that is why we had no choice but to cancel the session," said Neil Willenson, One Heartland founder and CEO. "However, now that we have effectively contained the flu outbreak, our new priority is to find alternative opportunities for these 82 children to come to camp."

Funds raised for the original session were spent largely on non-refundable items such as food and transportation, so new funds must be raised in order to make the alternative sessions a reality. Willenson estimates they must raise at least $50,000 to accommodate all 82 children. He hopes to raise the money by September 1 so his team can confirm alternative arrangements. Northwest Airlines, now part of Delta Airlines, has already donated $10,000 in airfare.

Despite extensive infection control precautions put in place at the One Heartland Center in Willow River, Minn., three of the camp volunteers were eventually diagnosed with H1N1 "swine flu" virus. One Heartland is one of a growing number of summer camps that have either postponed or cancelled camp sessions as a result of H1N1 virus.

One Heartland is a national non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of children and families who experience HIV/AIDS and other significant life challenges worldwide. Founded in 1993, One Heartland's program, Camp Heartland, is the largest program of its kind offering compassion, acceptance, and year-round support. The program and their facility, the One Heartland Center in Willow River, Minn., are accredited by the American Camp Association.


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SOURCE One Heartland
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