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Last year Eden went to Camp Kesem for a week and this year she was chomping on the bit to return. CK is a unique program for kids who either have or have had parents with cancer. The goal is to support the kids with fun and innovative programs that help create a lasting community. There are chapters at college campuses across the country and this year, CK served more than 6,000 kids.

Camp Kesem creates magic for a week. The kids take camping excursions, canoe, ride horses, swim, and have bonfires and dance parties. Stuff you might have done too as a kid. These experiences paired with caring counselors have a profound impact. At one point, the kids and counselors hold an empowerment ceremony where each child is invited to talk about their personal stories. Before sitting down bottles of water and a small packs of tissues are handed out. The stories are raw, personal, and freeing. Eden tells me she's never spoken in front of the group. She says she knows she's one of the lucky ones. I am still here and doing fine.

When she came home, she decided this time to put her feelings into a poem. I am sharing it as a thank you to all who make Camp Kesem possible.

Camp Kesem Love

By Eden Swails

Camp Kesem is there to hold you close.

A second home.

A second family.

A second chance at being a child.

We grew up too fast,

But can't dwell on the past.

Instead look for good.

See the beauty in all.

Strong and empowered,

You can live life again.

With the help of kids you never thought would be your friends.

These people know what to say,

They know what to do,

Because whatever you've been through,

They have too.

Crafts and games,

Songs and dances.

Have fun.

Be crazy.

Be happy.

Be thankful.

It could be worse.

If even for a minute,

You can forget

The pain and sadness,

It was worth the trip.

So share your story,

And shed a tear.

Share a hug,

And encourage others.

You're allowed to be sad,

Sometimes it's hard not to be.

But it's even harder to be sad at Kesem.


Thank you Camp Kesem

Carolyn and Terry

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