Name: Jennifer Burt
The innocence of adolescence is fleeting for the child of a cancer patient. They grow up quick, shouldering the emotional weight of something far beyond their own control and, oftentimes, are forced to swap roles in serving as caregiver to a sick parent.
In service to these children, Camp Kesem has become a place of refuge, a respite from the worry in a weeklong visit back to their childhood.
Located on college campuses across the country and led by college students determined to make a positive impact on the world, Camp Kesem has become well known for its success in helping adolescents cope with the overwhelming responsibility and fear they face as their loved ones struggle to survive. A noble cause, indeed, and one in which Southern Utah University would like to join as Camp Kesem continues to expand its service locations.
To meet this goal, SUU needs your help.
The Livestrong Foundation will allocate funding for Camp Kesem expansion through online voting open to all. SUU President Michael Benson encourages the campus and local communities to cast a vote to bring increased resources for cancer patients and their families to southern Utah.
Voting is open now through May 31 at livestrong.org. Individuals may vote once per day to allocate funding to southern Utah and its citizens in need.
Susan Durfee, director of SUU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, has been working diligently to bring this organization to SUU. She feels SUU and its surrounding community offer an “idyllic location with plenty of activities for the kids Camp Kesem will serve.”
Durfee also said SUU has in place “a wide-range of people who are willing to help with the camp, should [the University] receive Livestrong funding.” She added, “I am confident this camp will thrive at SUU.”
If approved, Camp Kesem at SUU will open summer 2012, with plans for SUU student Alison Jensen, a junior family life and human development major and current employee within the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, to serve as the camp’s primary student director.
Very much like any other summer camp, Camp Kesem provides the classic recreational, arts and crafts and outdoor adventure outlets that allow children to explore their world in a safe, supervised environment. However, Camp Kesem campers are grouped with other children who face similar struggles and are surrounded by counselors trained to help them relax and enjoy a break from their everyday worry.
The Livestrong Foundation has also included funding for the Cancer Transitions program among its grant finalists. Voters may vote for one finalist in each group, and local residents are also encouraged to vote for the southern Utah Cancer Transitions branch run through the Huntsman Cancer Institute at Valley View Medical Center.
Additional information about this program is available on the Livestrong voting ballot.
Two worthy causes across a deserving community. Please vote every day in support of bringing Camp Kesem and Cancer Transitions to southern Utah.
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