One Kesem parent’s children were just 7 and 5 years-old when they learned of her husband’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis. “It was a scary, sad, and confusing time for all of us. We didn’t know any other families who were going through what we were.”
At Kesem, we believe all children facing a parent’s cancer deserve the chance to fully experience the joys of childhood and be their best selves. Our mission is to support these children through and beyond their parent’s cancer with free, fun-filled creative programs and a lasting community. Kesem provides year-round support to children and families navigating parental cancer, inlcluding our flagship program, Camp Kesem.
That same Kesem parent who once felt scared and alone immediately saw the impact of Kesem on her family. “When we picked our son up from camp the first time, I remember the overwhelming joy that we felt. He was having so much fun, being silly, giving hugs, dancing. It seemed like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
The next year, when both kids attended, my husband was in the hospital. Every night we would sit in the hospital bed and scroll through the pictures of them doing messy Olympics, swimming, doing color wars, and just having so much fun. It did our hearts a lot of good to know that they could still be kids despite everything that was happening at home. My husband died about a month later. At his memorial service, I noticed a row of college students in the back of the room and I wondered who they were. It turns out they were the counselors from Camp Kesem, who had come just to give my kids extra love and support. It was a beautiful gesture for which I will always be grateful.
The following year, when the kids went back to camp, it was the first time since their dad’s death that they were able to talk about it with other kids and counselors. My son in particular opened up in ways that I know were very meaningful to him.”
Kesem is understanding in motion. It is friendship in motion. It is community in motion. It is love in motion.
This year, nearly 7,000 children felt the magic that Kesem provides, and it couldn’t have happened without you. After a two-year pause and reimagination of our programming, our return to Camp Kesem this summer was renewing, invigorating, and empowering; one that sparked continued inspiration to bring Kesem to as many families as possible.
As we carry this Kesem magic with us into a new season, we know that sparks need nourishment to become a fire. We know that we must continue to build upon this foundation we’ve laid and the momentum we’ve found to bring these life-changing experiences to more families who need us from coast to coast. We must continue to be in motion, together, relentless in the pursuit of reaching more kids, in more places, in more ways, to ensure that they never have to face a parent’s cancer alone, no matter what.
Join us this Giving Tuesday and become a part of the Kesem magic.
#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 through a partnership of New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. The goal of this partnership was to find a way for the world to give back following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. More information about #GivingTuesday can be found at givingtuesday.org.
Thanks to our generous supporters across the country, Kesem has raised over $5 million as part of #GivingTuesday since 2013.