DeKALB – The Northern Illinois University chapter of Camp Kesem, a nonprofit organization that provides a week of camp for children affected by their parents’ cancer, is seeking donations and two camp nurses to help at this year’s events.
Ria Sangsomwong, chapter director of Camp Kesem at NIU, said the organization is looking to provide a memorable experience to 30 kids this year and is trying to raise $33,000 to do it.
“The basis of Camp Kesem is not a therapeutic camp,” Sangsomwong said. “We just want to be their friends and let them know that they’re not alone.”
So far, about $11,000 has been raised through individual fundraising, but the group is looking into profit-sharing ventures as well, Sangsomwong said.
The event will also be made possible through the help of 22 volunteers from the university, one mental health professional and two camp nurses. Finding those two nurses is the big sticking point right now. Sangsomwong said anyone wishing to be a volunteer is still welcome to apply and can be put on a waiting list.
NIU’s Camp Kesem chapter is 2 years old and had its first camp in July, when 12 campers participated. So far, Sangsomwong said 11 campers have applied and been accepted this year. Although the goal is to serve kids in the DeKalb-Sycamore area and the western Chicago suburbs, potential campers can be from anywhere, she said.