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

More Than 80 Adults Give Of Their Time And Talents Every Summer To Create A Week Of Outrageous Fun For Children with heart conditions The Children.


Meet the Board of Merry Heart Children's Camp

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


  Mary Rice, MD - President, Board of Directors

Mary Rice, MD - President, Board of Directors

Mary is a retired Pediatric Cardiologist from the Department of Pediatrics/Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital (OHSU).  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.

  Sherry Feakes - Secretary and Director

Sherry Feakes - Secretary and Director

  Jill Houtman - Treasurer and Director

Jill Houtman - Treasurer and Director

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. 

  Peggy Adams,    M.Ed, CCLS  - Director

Peggy Adams, M.Ed, CCLS - Director

  Michele Arluna - Director

Michele Arluna - Director

  June DeSimone, MD -    Director

June DeSimone, MD -  Director

June was born and raised in Wisconsin and attended college and medical school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  After pediatric residency at OHSU, 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.  

  Doug King, MD - Director

Doug King, MD - Director

Doug is a retired Pediatric Cardiologist from Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon (Randall Children’s Hospital).  He attended the University of Washington, obtaining both his B.S. and M.D. degrees. His pediatrics residency was at the University of California, Irvine, and was followed by a three-year pediatric cardiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Dr. King is board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric cardiology. His special interests are in echocardiography and fetal echocardiography. He and his wife, Carole, have three children.
 

  Paul Francis, MD - Director

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.

  Tim LaBarge - Director

Tim LaBarge - Director

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

  Mark Merkens, MD - Director

Mark Merkens, MD - Director

Mark experienced critical Congenital Aortic Valvular Stenosis and benefited from two critical surgeries "just in time". He is a Developmental Pediatrician and Emeritus (retired) Professor of Pediatrics at Doernbecher Children's Hospital where he specialized in the care of children with special health needs. He has been a long distance hiker and lover of winter sports and now is a Nordic Ski Patroller on Mt. Hood.

  Natalie Van A  bkoude, RN - Director

Natalie Van Abkoude, 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. 

  Selena Cintron, RN - AdHoc Member

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.  

  Robert McDonald - Executive Director

Robert McDonald - Executive Director

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