Hi Friends and Family,
Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for Camp Kesem! I am so excited to represent this wonderful organization as I run the Full Marathon at the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon .
I would like to thank everyone who has generously donated to my Camp Kesem page over the past two years that I have been a counselor. As a reminder, Kesem serves the under-served community of children affected by a parent’s cancer. Our primary program is a free summer camp we provide to these children, and we fundraise so that every child can attend for free! Our goal this year is to raise $215,000 as a chapter in order to serve 265 children in Central Texas.
This past summer, I had the privilege of attending both the weeks of camp that our chapter offers and was a counselor for the younger kids (8 and 9 years) as well as the oldest (17 and 18 years). Each week was incredible and unique in that I witnessed the different ways Kesem can positively affect both the youngest and oldest kids.
For the younger kids, I have seen Camp Kesem provide them with one of the most fun weeks of their year. It is a week where they can escape the burden cancer has had on their family and purely focus on enjoying themselves and making new friends. It is a week where they can have all the smores and candy they want, where they can show of their “fortnite dance” or singing at the talent show, and where they can play as much gaga ball and other games as they desire. Ultimately, it is a week where they can laugh and smile and experience the joys of being a child. We allow children to be themselves while at the same time encouraging them to conquer their fears and try new things. For some kids that “new thing” they try at camp might be as small as learning a new camp song or as big as going on a zipline for the first time. As a result, Kesem is as much a self-esteem building and empowering experience for young children as it is fun.
With the older kids, I witnessed how Camp Kesem has enabled them to make truly special friendships with each other. The stories they share during the empowerment ceremony, which is a special moment during camp where kids can share their stories regarding cancer, can be quite emotional and heartbreaking. However, they are also able to express how Camp Kesem has truly impacted their lives. It is evident in the room full of fellow campers and counselors that are providing them love, support, and compassion while they share their stories. These older kids are able to make an unbreakable bond with each over the week of camp through experiences such as empowerment that pervades and gives them strength in tough moments throughout the year.
I firmly believe that every child who has been affected by a parents’ cancer deserves Kesem. When a child attends Kesem, they are joining a community of love and support that they will forever be apart of.
Please consider making a donation and joining Camp Kesem in being a friend to these children through and beyond a parent’s cancer!!
Thanks for your generosity!
- Kevan "Cheerios" Patel