The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Camp Kesem set for second summer

Kate Gales | Monday, April 26, 2004

Camp Kesem, a week-long summer camp for the children of cancer patients, will take place again this summer under the direction of Notre Dame senior Adam Dell.Started in 2000 by students at Stanford, Dell and classmate Dan Doherty instituted the first Notre Dame Camp Kesem last summer. The camp’s mission is to help children with parents who are currently suffering from cancer, or have died from the disease. “Most of [the campers] don’t know any other kids who have parents with cancer and kind of feel isolated,” Dell said. “Camp Kesem is a place to share their experiences, build self-esteem and have a really fun week of camp. It’s a break for the parents and a really fun time for the kids as well.”Much of the work is done by the planning committee, which has 22 members. This year, they planned for 40 children to attend the camp and have 37 registered so far. Camp is held at Camp Crosley, a YMCA camp.”It’s like your typical summer camp – it has a lake, playing fields, climbing wall, ropes course and hiking trail,” Dell said.The program, for kids age 6 to 13, is offered free. “[Funding comes from] a variety of sources – our major one is just private donations,” Dell said. “A lot of people involved in the project will send out letters to family or friends or people in the community … and ask them for donations.”Additionally, the Alumni Association and various on-campus groups donate money. “[We get] a lot of help from Notre Dame student organizations,” he said. “They’ve given donations through different fundraising events.” The committee members also actively recruit future campers. “We just go out in the community and target them,” he said, mentioning local hospitals, oncology units, local schools and cancer support units. “We have to have some credentials and show them that were very serious … We hold an information session and meetings to tell [families] what the camp’s about and answer their questions. If the family is interested, they’ll fill out an application.”After last year’s success and the expansion of the program, Dell is optimistic about the future.”We hope it will be a project that continues for many, many years,” Dell said. “We have some good leadership for years to come as well.”