CNN - When Abigail "Abi" Yates was 10 and her father was battling a rare blood disease, her parents told her they were sending her to a special summer camp.
"I did not want to go. I didn't know anybody. I was like, 'Why do I have to do this?' " Abi said. "And, at the time, I didn't understand the severity of my father's illness, either. ... I just knew that something was wrong and I had to go to this camp, so I didn't know what to expect."
CHICAGO TRIBUNE - For the third straight summer, Dylan and Aiden Lynch are heading to the University of Illinois to attend Camp Kesem, where they'll kayak, swim, play and talk with other kids who've watched a parent battle cancer.
Their dad, Michael, learned about the organization through a vendor at work and signed the boys up while his wife, Summer, was being treated for breast cancer at Mayo Clinic. Summer died in June 2014, six weeks before the boys were set to leave for camp. Aiden was 11 at the time, and Dylan was 8.
5. Camp Kesem Millions of children live with a parent who has cancer. Camp Kesem, a nationwide community spearheaded by college student leaders, is supporting this often-neglected population through innovative, fun-filled programs. Iris Rave, herself a lifelong camper, started the first Camp Kesem chapter at Stanford University with four student leaders in 2000. They chose kesem, Hebrew for “magic,” precisely because they sought to bring magic to families affected by cancer.
In the years since, the organization has empowered 6,642 student leaders nationwide to provide transformative camp experiences for more than 11,352 children. Ninety-eight percent of the parents involved have said they believe Camp Kesem positively affected their families, noting their children’s new confidence, support network and increase in self-esteem.
The organization's one-week sleep-away camps host fun activities while giving these children the extra attention they need -- and creating a lasting community to support them.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - If you or someone you know has ever battled cancer then you understand it’s not just the individual but the entire family that’s in crisis mode.
That’s why North Carolinians and local celebrities Torry and Terrence Holt are committed to helping kids deal with this tough situation. It’s something they’ve been through themselves.
Camp Kesem is near and dear to the hearts of the Holt brothers. Torry and Terrence Holt remember how difficult it was when their mother suffered from cancer and passed away.
“Having gone through it, we vowed to do something that could help families deal with it and deal with cancer, particularly helping those kids that often get overlooked…because at need be the attention goes to the parent,” Terrence Holt said.
Last year, the Holt Brothers Foundation helped send 85 kids to Camp Kesem.
Watch the accompanying WNCN news video below, or click here to read the full story.
Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. By offering innovative, fun-filled programs that foster a lasting community, we aim to ensure that every child impacted by a parent’s cancer is never alone.