After the past two years, our community has proven that Kesem is more than a place, it's a feeling. A magical feeling that will meet you wherever you are. At camp, it's the feeling of tired limbs and full hearts singing loudly around the campfire. It's the feeling of having a friend's shoulder to rest the weight of your world on. It's knowing that you are understood and that you are strong, because the support of your peers lifts you up. It's the feeling of throwing your arms around your best camp buddy after a year-long wait. This year, the wait will be over. For more kids than ever, Kesem magic awaits.
We're grateful to be a part of the stories of the children we serve. Privileged for the role we've played in their journey. Proud of how we’ve all taken this special experience to positively shape our lives and impact others we touch. Yet, we know there are many more kids who have parental cancer as a centerpiece of their story. We know we can reach and help to rewrite those stories, too.
Children experiencing a parent’s cancer are also commonly experiencing any or all of the following challenges: increased anxiety, emotional isolation, loss of social interest, or feelings of hopelessness. Kesem sees the importance of supporting these children—offering to counterbalance these challenges with free, fun-filled creative programs and a lasting community.
“Sandstorm” was nervous walking up to the Camp Kesem registration table for the first time. Like many first-year campers, there are a lot more questions than answers when learning of a parent’s cancer diagnosis. “I remember Googling ‘is magic real?’,” she recalls from the time. It was through the impact of Kesem’s community, specifically a quickly-found lifelong friend in “Fish,” that helped her answer her own question: Yes.
“Kesem led me to my best friend and it has also taught me how to be a friend. I learned how it felt to be loved for everything I was and for everything I wanted to be. At camp, I could love fully without holding back and it wouldn’t be too much. I was enough. This instilled a sense of confidence in me that I was able to bring to my community and use to step out of my comfort zone and become a leader.”
At Kesem, we are the only national organization committed to creating a world where Sandstorm, Fish, and every child who has a parent with a cancer diagnosis or has lost a parent to cancer is never alone.
98% OF PARENTS WOULD RECOMMEND KESEM TO OTHER FAMILIES IMPACTED BY CANCER
86% AGREE THEIR CHILD SEEMS MORE CONFIDENT IN THEIR ABILITY TO ADDRESS THEIR CANCER EXPERIENCE AFTER KESEM
99% OF PARENTS FEEL THEIR CHILD BENEFITTED FROM ATTENDING CAMP KESEM
96% OF PARENTS INTEND TO SEND THEIR CHILD BACK TO CAMP KESEM EACH YEAR
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#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.