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Paying the magic forward, local family raises money for Camp Kesem

Paying it forward to Camp Kesem
Denise Kahle

When a family member is diagnosed with cancer, the world stops. The first thoughts are what medical interventions can be done to rid the patient from this terrible disease. While the fight is front and center, the children can feel overwhelmed. From feelings of despair to angry over the unfairness, the children of cancer sufferers struggle in the midst of this terrible medical issue. Camp Kesem is a place where kids can feel the magic of being a kid.

Camp Kesem is by big kids, for little kids whose parents have cancer. The ever-expanding Camp Kesem provides children affected by a parent’s cancer with a life-long, peer-support network that recognizes and understands their unique needs. Since its establishment in 2000, Camp Kesem has provided over 5,000 children, ages 6-16, with critical support through free summer camps led by passionate college students empowered with life and leadership skills. Camp Kesem currently exists at 54 chapters in 27 states and operates off donations and community support.

The idea behind Camp Kesem is simple. Give a child time to just be a kid. For a week, these children, who have a tremendous weight on their shoulders, can put the worries aside and enjoy an experience like anyone else. From picking a special camp name to creating camp memories, this week is free from explanations and worries. Since the children are surrounded by others in a similar situation, they can let down their guard and just experience the moment. Hopefully, the children can draw on these happy camp memories during more difficult times.

One local Lemont family believes in the benefits of Camp Kesem. The Kahle family lost their father to cancer. The two children started attending a week long camp at Northwestern. Camp Kesem offered the kids the chance to have fun. Surrounded by other kids who are in a similar situation, they can let their guard down and have fun.

The children, who attended Camp Kesem over the years, continue to pay back the good will that this special camp offers. Through online sales of donated items, the Kahle family donated over $1000 to Camp Kesem at its Night at the Museum event.

The Kahle family raises funds throughout the year. Items are sold on Bookoo and People can just type the word KESEM in the search box on either site to see all of our items available for sale. Currently, they have 110+ items up for sale and add items as they are donated. Purchasers can choose to donate things while others set the price and give us a small percentage of the sale for Camp Kesem.

To donate an item for sale, please contact them via the posts on Craigslist or

To learn more about Camp Kesem, please visit

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