The Painted Turtle Changes Lives

Nicole was diagnosed with Loeys-Dietz syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and severe allergies when she was just 6 years old. By the time she was ten, she had already had seven surgeries and she lost count of how many times she had stayed overnight at the hospital.

When Nicole first came to The Painted Turtle, she had a gastrostomy tube in her abdomen to help deliver nutrition and she used a wheelchair when she needed to travel longer distances. Her brother had been able to go to sleep-away camp, but her mom had to tell Nicole that she couldn’t go, because it would be too difficult to keep up with her medications and it might hurt her body too much.

Living with a serious medical condition means that many campers are often told what they can’t do. But at The Painted Turtle, campers spend a week in a safe space to test their courage and learn independence, all while receiving condition-specific medical care in a state-of-the-art facility.

In Nicole’s own words: “I’ve done so many activities I never thought I would be able to do, like ride a horse, shoot a bow and arrow, scale a ropes course, and most importantly, dance until I can’t move. For a few days I can just be a kid. At Camp, I’m not worried about surgeries or medicines, just about what my next adventure is.”

So much of Nicole’s life is dictated by medications and doctor’s appointments, yet when she arrives at Camp, she has the opportunity to just be a kid, without worry.

This holiday season, will you create opportunities for children with serious medical conditions to thrive at Camp?

Your Gift Keeps Camp Free of Charge 

Camp will always be free of charge. Your gift supports the costs of food, housing, medical care, and of course fun for campers of all ages, and 100% of donations directly benefit the campers and their families. To make a donation, click here .

Honor Someone Special

Your gift can be made in memory of a loved one or in honor of a birthday, anniversary or special occasion of a family member or friend. If your gift is a tribute to someone, please tell us the name of the individual you wish us to notify along with their address so that we can send them a card letting them know of your thoughtful gift. (The amount will not be mentioned.)

If you have questions about making a gift, please contact us at or 310-451-1353.

The Painted Turtle is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with Federal Tax ID# 95-4612481. All charitable contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you prefer to send your donation by mail, please address it to: Camperships at The Painted Turtle, 1300 4th Street, Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90401.