Waller's GymJam Facebook page

 

As parents and coaches of young athletes, we believe that part of their gymnastics experience should include a commitment to community service. It is fitting to focus this service on fitness and health. We have contributed sizeable donations to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and Camp del Corazon, a summer camp for children with heart disease. The GymJam Foundation, the organization of this competition, has contributed more than $40,000.00 to charities! Your support of GymJam’s events make that possible.

The Heart of a Champion Story

Imagine that you were told that your gymnast needed heart surgery. At a routine checkup, Chris Waller’s parents were told that he needed open heart surgery when he was only 15 years old. Then, against all odds and with the indispensable help from outstanding doctors, Chris went on to compete in the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona. Eight and a half years ago, just before his 37th birthday, Chris had his second heart surgery, lasting 20 hours, to further repair the aorta and to replace a malfunctioning aortic valve. This was a 20 hour surgery that left his wife Cindy nearly as emotionally exhausted as Chris was physically exhausted. Through the efforts of skilled doctors Chris has enjoyed a nearly unencumbered life. Thousands of children are born with heart disease that leaves them struggling to find health and lead a life of fun and normalcy. In an effort to provide children with heart disease a more fun and normal childhood, a wonderful group of outstanding doctors and nurses established Camp del Corazon. 

In the summer of 2010, Chris had the opportunity to visit Camp del Corazon and speak to its campers. Camp del Corazon is a non-profit corporation, providing a free-of-charge summer camp for children with heart disease. All proceeds are spent on the camp, and it’s programming, which is staffed entirely by volunteers, and primarily my doctors and nurses! Children at Camp del Corazon would otherwise not be able to attend camp without its existence. It provides a week for children to feel like normal kids at summer camp; Camp del Corazon provides a week for kids with heart disease to just be kids! When Chris and Cindy witnessed the children at Camp del Corazon, he and Cindy were so moved by its program, that they wanted to help fund the camp.

Motivated by their personal experiences and knowledge of heart disease, and committed to our mission of building the “hearts of champions,” Cindy, Chris, and the GymJam Foundation chose Camp del Corazon as the perfect charity to which to contribute — for there truly is no better embodiment of the qualities of a champion than the courage, perseverance and grace in the face of adversity demonstrated by these young campers and those who host the camp.

We are extremely grateful for your support and welcome you to the Heart of a Champion Invitational!

The GymJam Foundation & Team
Building Hearts of Champions!