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The weight of a mother's journey lightened by Camp Kesem

The magic of Camp Kesem
Cristine Struble

When a mother receives the tragic news that she has cancer, the whole family is turned upside down. While the fight against the disease is a priority, a mother never loses sight of the happiness and well being of her children.

During the Camp Kesem Night at the Museum fundraiser, I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful family, the Schmidt family. During our dinner, Annette and Achim Schmidt shared their family's story her battle with cancer and how Camp Kesem benefited her child.

Mrs. Schmidt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. She is a wife and mother of four children. Through a cancer support group, she was introduced to Camp Kesem. The motto of this organization is simple, Bringing Magic to Families Coping with Cancer.

"We thought it would be a great thing for our youngest to be around other kids who experience the same situations and to be able to talk about it and knowing that the others understand what they mean." She compared this camp to the ladies in the Cancer Care Group. But as a mom, "I was worried because it was the very first time that he would be without his family – the first time away from home."

When it was time for her son to leave for camp, she was excited but had mixed feelings. Since it was the first time away from home, Mrs. Schmidt had trepidations but she understood this time away for her son was beneficial. "The night before camp he was crying and said that he will miss us. I told him that he will be having a great time and that every evening we will look at the moon and greet each other."

When her son returned from camp, she asked about his experience. "He couldn’t stop telling us how great it was and about this and that. He told me that he is happy to be home again but that he missed camp. He was also asking Please, please can I go again next year? I was so happy for him for what a great time he had and what a positive impact it had on him."

Mrs Schmidt was equally impressed with the camp counselors and the program itself. The connections and support from this organization doesn't end when camp is completed. From the Fall Farm get together to just asking how life is going, the counselors and program want the children to feel supported.

"We love Camp Kesem and the positive impact it brings. I love to tell other families about Camp Kesem and what it did for our family."

To learn more about Camp Kesem, please visit its website at

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