Merry Heart Children's Camp Is An All-Volunteer Driven Organization

More than 80 adults give pf their time and talents every summer to create a week of outrageous fun for youth with heart conditions.


Meet the Board of Merry Heart Children's Camp

The Merry heart children's camp board is a collection of medical professionals, parents of youth with heart conditions and community members. They are determined to create a safe and inspiring experience for the campers.


Tim LaBarge - President   Tim is a freelance photographer and writer doing work for organizations and publications in the Northwest. When not taking pictures, he is usually camping, canoeing, hiking and hanging out with his family - and probably taking pictures.  Tim's wife, Sara, is a nurse at Department of Pediatrics/Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University.  He is thrilled to help build this camp that serves the amazing kids Sara sees each day.

Tim LaBarge - President

Tim is a freelance photographer and writer doing work for organizations and publications in the Northwest. When not taking pictures, he is usually camping, canoeing, hiking and hanging out with his family - and probably taking pictures.

Tim's wife, Sara, is a nurse at Department of Pediatrics/Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University.

He is thrilled to help build this camp that serves the amazing kids Sara sees each day.

June DeSimone, MD - Secretary   June was born and raised in Wisconsin and attended college and medical school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After pediatric residency at Oregon Health and Science University, she has been a pediatrician at the Broadway Medical Clinic since 1996.  A source of sunshine in her days is time with her husband and three daughters with whom she enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and many sports.  "It is a privilege to serve on the board of the Merry Heart Children’s Camp," she says.

June DeSimone, MD - Secretary

June was born and raised in Wisconsin and attended college and medical school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After pediatric residency at Oregon Health and Science University, she has been a pediatrician at the Broadway Medical Clinic since 1996.

A source of sunshine in her days is time with her husband and three daughters with whom she enjoys traveling, gardening, camping, and many sports.

"It is a privilege to serve on the board of the Merry Heart Children’s Camp," she says.

Jill Houtman - Treasurer   Jill is owner of Outer West, Inc. a professional development consulting and training firm.  Jill has a background in financial services and serves as Treasurer for Merry Heart Children's Camp.  In her free time, she enjoys camping and skiing with her family in the beautiful Northwest.

Jill Houtman - Treasurer

Jill is owner of Outer West, Inc. a professional development consulting and training firm.

Jill has a background in financial services and serves as Treasurer for Merry Heart Children's Camp.

In her free time, she enjoys camping and skiing with her family in the beautiful Northwest.


Mary Rice, MD - Past-President   Mary is a retired Pediatric Cardiologist from the Department of Pediatrics | Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University.  She attended medical school at the University of Minnesota and did her pediatric residency at University of Texas. She did her pediatric cardiology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic.  About 25 years ago, one of her families asked, “Why doesn’t Oregon have a heart camp?” This stuck in her mind and after retirement she recruited a board to help develop Merry Heart Children’s Camp.

Mary Rice, MD - Past-President

Mary is a retired Pediatric Cardiologist from the Department of Pediatrics | Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health and Science University.

She attended medical school at the University of Minnesota and did her pediatric residency at University of Texas. She did her pediatric cardiology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic.

About 25 years ago, one of her families asked, “Why doesn’t Oregon have a heart camp?” This stuck in her mind and after retirement she recruited a board to help develop Merry Heart Children’s Camp.

Michele Arluna - Director   Michele is a wife (husband is Rob) and mom of four children (twin girls: Julianne and Abbie, and two sons: Anthony and Adrian).  The youngest son, Adrian was born with a heart condition. Adrian was born with hypoplastic right heart, double-inlet left ventricle, l-transposition of the great arteries, coarctation of the aorta and ventricular septal defect, just to name a few more… Adrian has undergone 3 open heart surgeries including the Norwood procedure at 3 days old, bidirectional Glenn at 3 months old and Fontan at 6 years old.  Adrian was a part of history in the summer of 2015 when he was one of the first campers to attend the inaugural year of Merry Heart Children’s Camp. Adrian had the best time of his life- those were his own words. Seeing how magical the experience of this camp transformed Adrian and drew out such strength and confidence inspired Michele to want to get involved with Merry Heart Children’s Camp and make sure that every heart child in Oregon could have the opportunity to feel the way Adrian felt from experiencing a camp just for them!  Michele is a native east coaster (New York/New Jersey) and made her way to Oregon by way of San Diego. She is a Penn State majoring in Economics. Her background is in Retail Planning and Buying. Michele is involved with Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Granter. She spends most of her “spare” time volunteering at her children’s schools and church where she taught LifeKids for 5 years. Most weekends are spent as a cheerleader/chauffer for her children who are involved in soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and karate. She loves music and running and is a huge New York Yankees fan.

Michele Arluna - Director

Michele is a wife (husband is Rob) and mom of four children (twin girls: Julianne and Abbie, and two sons: Anthony and Adrian).

The youngest son, Adrian was born with a heart condition. Adrian was born with hypoplastic right heart, double-inlet left ventricle, l-transposition of the great arteries, coarctation of the aorta and ventricular septal defect, just to name a few more… Adrian has undergone 3 open heart surgeries including the Norwood procedure at 3 days old, bidirectional Glenn at 3 months old and Fontan at 6 years old.

Adrian was a part of history in the summer of 2015 when he was one of the first campers to attend the inaugural year of Merry Heart Children’s Camp. Adrian had the best time of his life- those were his own words. Seeing how magical the experience of this camp transformed Adrian and drew out such strength and confidence inspired Michele to want to get involved with Merry Heart Children’s Camp and make sure that every heart child in Oregon could have the opportunity to feel the way Adrian felt from experiencing a camp just for them!

Michele is a native east coaster (New York/New Jersey) and made her way to Oregon by way of San Diego. She is a Penn State majoring in Economics. Her background is in Retail Planning and Buying. Michele is involved with Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Granter. She spends most of her “spare” time volunteering at her children’s schools and church where she taught LifeKids for 5 years. Most weekends are spent as a cheerleader/chauffer for her children who are involved in soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and karate. She loves music and running and is a huge New York Yankees fan.

Selena Cintron, RN - AdHoc Member   Selena grew up in Missoula, Montana and graduated from Montana State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She moved to Portland shortly after graduation to pursue a career in pediatrics. She started at Emanuel in 2009 and transitioned over to the cardiac/oncology unit at Randall Children’s Hospital.  Throughout the past 9 years, she has enjoyed working with cardiac patients.  She has been involved as a camp nurse every year since Merry Heart Children’s Camp began its first summer and she looks forward to many more summers with our amazing campers.

Selena Cintron, RN - AdHoc Member

Selena grew up in Missoula, Montana and graduated from Montana State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She moved to Portland shortly after graduation to pursue a career in pediatrics. She started at Emanuel in 2009 and transitioned over to the cardiac/oncology unit at Randall Children’s Hospital.

Throughout the past 9 years, she has enjoyed working with cardiac patients.

She has been involved as a camp nurse every year since Merry Heart Children’s Camp began its first summer and she looks forward to many more summers with our amazing campers.



Paul Francis, MD - Director   Paul is a retired Pediatric Cardiologist from Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, CA. He attended the University of California-Davis obtaining his M.D. degree. His pediatric residency was at University of Colorado and did his pediatric cardiology fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  He was a volunteer for Camp Taylor for 11 years as a counselor, doctor, cart driver and heart educator.

Paul Francis, MD - Director

Paul is a retired Pediatric Cardiologist from Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, CA. He attended the University of California-Davis obtaining his M.D. degree. His pediatric residency was at University of Colorado and did his pediatric cardiology fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

He was a volunteer for Camp Taylor for 11 years as a counselor, doctor, cart driver and heart educator.

Nandita Gupta, MD - Director   Nandita is an Adult Cardiologist and a congenital heart disease survivor. She received her medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York. She completed fellowship in Cardiology at Oregon Health and Science University. She is board certified in General Cardiology, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.  She underwent open heart surgery at a young age for congenital heart disease and is passionate about supporting youth with heart conditions. Over the years, she has been involved with various healthcare related non-profit organization. She currently also serves on the Boards of Project 32 and Babies with Books.  Nandita enjoys spending her free time traveling with her family, reading and hiking.

Nandita Gupta, MD - Director

Nandita is an Adult Cardiologist and a congenital heart disease survivor. She received her medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York. She completed fellowship in Cardiology at Oregon Health and Science University. She is board certified in General Cardiology, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.

She underwent open heart surgery at a young age for congenital heart disease and is passionate about supporting youth with heart conditions. Over the years, she has been involved with various healthcare related non-profit organization. She currently also serves on the Boards of Project 32 and Babies with Books.

Nandita enjoys spending her free time traveling with her family, reading and hiking.

Jennifer Huang, MD - Director   Jen is a Pediatric Cardiologist at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital / Oregon Health and Science University. She grew up in Kansas and attended medical school at the University of Kansas. She did her internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of Cincinnati/ Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and fellowships at Oregon Health and Science University and Stanford University. She is the Medical Director for Ambulatory and Outreach Services and Co-Director of Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Rehab at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.  She has lived in Portland with her wife and 2 children since 2011 and loves the Pacific Northwest. She has been involved with Merry Heart Children’s Camp since its inception and loves how the camp encourages physical activity, comradely, and a love of the outdoors.

Jennifer Huang, MD - Director

Jen is a Pediatric Cardiologist at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital / Oregon Health and Science University. She grew up in Kansas and attended medical school at the University of Kansas. She did her internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of Cincinnati/ Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and fellowships at Oregon Health and Science University and Stanford University. She is the Medical Director for Ambulatory and Outreach Services and Co-Director of Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Rehab at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

She has lived in Portland with her wife and 2 children since 2011 and loves the Pacific Northwest. She has been involved with Merry Heart Children’s Camp since its inception and loves how the camp encourages physical activity, comradely, and a love of the outdoors.


Natalie Sharp, RN - Director   Natalie is a pediatric nurse, specializing in both cardiac and hematology oncology patients. She believes there is something truly magical about medical specialty camps and has volunteered with them in different capacities since the beginning of her career.  She loves working with children and getting to see them transform from patients to whole new individuals as campers.  She has been involved with Merry Heart Children’s Camp from the first year as part of the nursing team.  She is excited to take a leadership role by serving on the board of directors.

Natalie Sharp, RN - Director

Natalie is a pediatric nurse, specializing in both cardiac and hematology oncology patients. She believes there is something truly magical about medical specialty camps and has volunteered with them in different capacities since the beginning of her career.

She loves working with children and getting to see them transform from patients to whole new individuals as campers.

She has been involved with Merry Heart Children’s Camp from the first year as part of the nursing team.

She is excited to take a leadership role by serving on the board of directors.

Lindsay Urbinelli, MD - Director   Lindsay is a pediatric cardiologist at Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon/Randall Children’s Hospital. She is from upstate New York where she obtained her medical degree at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Her pediatric and pediatric cardiology residency/fellowship training was at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital. She then completed an additional year of fellowship in cardiac imaging at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital before joining Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon in 2016. Her special interests are fetal cardiology and cardiac MRI and CT.  She feels privileged to build nurturing relationships with children and families with congenital heart disease beginning before they were born into adulthood.  Lindsay spends her free time enjoying the beautiful Pacific NW, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Lindsay Urbinelli, MD - Director

Lindsay is a pediatric cardiologist at Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon/Randall Children’s Hospital. She is from upstate New York where she obtained her medical degree at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Her pediatric and pediatric cardiology residency/fellowship training was at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital. She then completed an additional year of fellowship in cardiac imaging at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital before joining Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon in 2016. Her special interests are fetal cardiology and cardiac MRI and CT.

She feels privileged to build nurturing relationships with children and families with congenital heart disease beginning before they were born into adulthood.

Lindsay spends her free time enjoying the beautiful Pacific NW, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Robert McDonald - Executive Director | Camp Director   Rob is a resource pediatric cardiac sonographer at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital / Oregon Health and Science University. He graduated from the Spokane Community College Noninvasive Cardiovascular Program in Spokane, Washington. He has been in the field since 1983.

Robert McDonald - Executive Director | Camp Director

Rob is a resource pediatric cardiac sonographer at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital / Oregon Health and Science University. He graduated from the Spokane Community College Noninvasive Cardiovascular Program in Spokane, Washington. He has been in the field since 1983.