LLS Community Partner: Camp Kesem

LLS could not accomplish all that it does without meaningful community partnerships. This month, we’ll begin profiling our community partners to share the exciting work LLS is doing throughout Northern California.

Camp Kesem

While many college students are busy studying, working, and blowing off steam with friends, students at UC Berkeley are hard at work organizing a free summer camp for children who have a parent with cancer. Started as a student project at Stanford in 2001, Camp Kesem has grown to have chapters at 23 college campuses throughout the US. The Berkeley Camp Kesem Chapter serves 55 kids each year, aged 6-16, with a weeklong summer camp provided free of charge to families who have/had a parent with cancer. This year camp will be held August 13th-18th 2012. LLS’s very own Kayley Harrington, MSW, MPH, Community Outreach Manager, serves as a member of their Advisory Board.

Camp Kesem Berkeley provides a resource for parents with cancer and their kids. While the parents are coping with their own diagnoses, Camp Kesem helps their kids cope with the situation. Parents are also able to find and connect with other families facing similar circumstances. Outside of camp, we hold reunions and events throughout the year to keep the campers and families tied in to the Camp Kesem community and support system. Many parents will plan treatments and surgeries around the time of summer camp, so they can recover and be stronger for their kids when camp ends. Parents of campers have shared that their children returned home after camp with a renewed energy, increased self-esteem, and a visible difference in their ability to cope with their parent’s cancer.

One new camper summed up the week perfectly: “I have all my best friends at Camp Kesem – they know what it’s like to have a mom with cancer too. AND I got to go canoeing, met a magician, and made it to the top at rock climbing!”

Cancer affects the entire family and LLS is dedicated to supporting all people affected by cancer through its patient services programs. We are proud to partner with Camp Kesem. To learn more about Camp Kesem or other oncology-focused camps, or to refer a camper, contact Kayley.Harrington@lls.org or visit www.campkesem.org/berkeley

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