Saint Johns Medical Center
Pacific Heart Electrophysiology
Bill “Willy” Cabeen was part of Camp del Corazon from the very beginning.
Willy was never one to stand at the front of the camp and steal the limelight – yet somehow, we were always aware of his presence and importance to camp. True to his nature, he would, without exception, have our backs. As a 17 year board member, his voice was always one that spoke about the difference camp made on the lives of children with heart disease. There had to be a very big reason for Bill not to be a camp. We would joke that each year that he, the crazy salty dog that he was, would arrive into Howland’s landing after a six hour channel crossing and four things had to be ready for him. A simple request really- a hot shower, his “Willy” name tag and latest camp shirt, and the master medical list. Once he had all four, he would take a seat on the front porch of the Whitehouse and we all knew that camp was in session – officially!
Because he was the backup doctor on site, he would read the list of camper medical information like it was a bible and came to know each camper from year to year. I honestly think that he could give you each camper’s diagnosis and their medication list off the top of his head. Having Willy at camp always gave me peace of mind.
Often at night, when the rest of camp was asleep, I would look out over the beautiful cove and the many large yachts, and there would be Willy’s eloquent classic wooden boat. I could always pick it out because there was always a single lantern that would be hung from the mast. It would sway with the motion of the waves. It was Bill’s style.
Bill introduced the campers to the night sky. He would set up telescopes and adjust them to view planets, stars, and constellations. For many of the campers, it was their first exposure to see the magical world beyond the clouds.
Bill loved the camp and the camp loved Bill.
We will keep your memory alive at camp. We will light a lantern for you on the Whitehouse porch.O Captain! My Captain! - We just know you’ll be with us at camp, sailing around Heaven with a boat full of campers – still guiding us – and we’ll take heart.