Our community has recently been impacted greatly by diagnoses of cancer and cancer deaths; in our neighborhoods, schools, fitness centers and workplaces. When it’s a parent who has been diagnosed and is going through treatment, their children are affected immensely; they don’t understand all of the doctor appointments and the side-effects of the treatments. The joys of childhood are replaced with a new reality of cancer vocabulary, treatment and fears.
There are very few services available for children of cancer patients, and this is where Camp Kesem comes into the picture. Camp Kesem is a network of free summer camps, run by college students at more than 40 universities nationwide (including UC Davis), for kids aged 6-16 affected by a parent’s cancer.
Camp Kesem started at UCD nine years ago with eight children (one of whom was my third-grader), and this summer there will be 120 kids attending camp! There are more than 50 well-trained UCD student volunteers working all year putting this camp together, and they do an amazing job.
The Kesem campers can just be kids for a very fun week at camp with other kids who have been going through the same experiences. And with a counselor-to-camper ratio of one-to-two, they get more attention than they could ever ask for!
Because camp is free, the UC Davis Kesem volunteers work all year raising money for the week at camp. The largest fundraiser, “Make the Magic,” is happening Saturday, May 3, in Davis for anyone that would like to attend, have a wonderful evening, meet the counselors and campers and parents, and learn more about Camp Kesem.
For more information and tickets, please visit www.campkesemdavis.org.
Kesem (n): magic; the ability to change a life; the unique power that transforms kids into Camp Kesem campers.