Camp Kesem: magic for kids whose parents have cancer

Checking in at Camp Kesem a few summers ago.

Checking in at Camp Kesem a few summers ago.

Tie dying was a hit! However, it did leave a trail of colored fingers…

Canoeing in the lake was definitely a home run on Sports Day!!

Catching some Z’s before we play CAPTURE THE FLAG!!!! Best all camp activity ever!!!

These are the tweets we’ve been receiving from Camp Kesem, when our daughter Chrissy was attending last summer. It may sound like a typical camp, but it’s not.

“Kesem” means magic in Hebrew, and that’s exactly what goes on at these camps. For the past 13summers, Camp Kesem – a college-student-run summer camp for kids whose parents have (or have had) cancer – has provided plenty of laughs and lots of emotional, but non-therapeutic support. And best of all, it’s free of charge.

Between 2001 and 2009, Camp Kesem grew from a single campus hosting 37 campers to a national movement serving over 1000 campers at 22 camps. Chrissy attends the camp based out of Indiana University. The counselors are all specially trained and raise money to pay for the camp expenses.

This summer will  be Chrissy’s fifth year, and she has truly blossomed as a result of attending. This will be her first summer in teen camp, and she couldn’t be more excited. She absolutely loves the counselors and all the activities. Best of all, she is around kids who can relate to what she’s going through as a child of a survivor. Both Mike and I admitted we were jealous that she was having a week filled with fun in such a beautiful place. I can’t wait to hear all about it when we pick her up.

In honor of Mother’s and Father’s Day, Camp Kesem is holding a Give a Laugh Video Contest. Record a QUICK video of your child, your niece, your dad – anyone – giving us a great laugh.  Even five seconds is great!  Use your phone and just load it right here:   If you’d like to learn more about Camp Kesem, go to Even if you don’t have school-aged kids, it’s a very worthy organization to support.

Tami Boehmer is a metastatic breast cancer survivor, speaker, blogger and author of From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. You can visit her at

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