As many know, I dedicate all of my free time to an organization that supports kids who have been affected by a parent’s cancer, Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem has changed my life in so many positive ways. I have found mentors who I trust telling every detail in my life to and some of my best friends.
This year I was the unit leader for the teenage girls, aged 15-16 years. I feel so humbled and blessed to not only to get to know the girls that were in my unit, but also to be a mentor, friend, and role model to them.
I have an amazing and selfless support system, consisting of friends and family, who truly took care of me while my dad was sick and during his passing. My support system stopped their lives to take care of my mom, my sister, and myself. I know that I can still rely on them for whatever hurdles I have to overcome. My dad’s close friends and family are always so open to talking about my dad and about cancer when I need a therapeutic and valuable conversation to uplift any negative feelings.
After volunteering my time to Camp Kesem for the last three years, I have realized that not everyone has a support system like mine. This realization pushes me even more to dedicate my time, energy, and feelings to these kids who are in dire need of a support system, or someone to just listen to them vent about the adversity they face.
Our camp advisor, Baloney, explains Camp Kesem as the revenge on cancer. When she told me that, it really stuck with me and now that is how I explain Kesem to others. Camp Kesem is a safe place for kids to have fun and be kids again, but more importantly a chance for them to talk about to about cancer and their feelings about the deadly disease.
I felt such a deep connection to the kids in my unit and to the new counselors that have joined the Kesem family! I remember when I was a freshman and sophomore, I would look up to the older counselors with the utmost respect (and continue to do so) and after growing up with Kesem, I finally feel like I am becoming a mentor to the new counselors. These post-camp feels make me rejuvenated with a happy heart! I am so beyond thankful for the experience and I cannot wait until next year!