Camp Kesem event raises $5,000

The GW chapter of Camp Kesem raised $5,000 at its annual “Share the Magic” fundraiser April 30, inviting administrators and local residents to the Mount Vernon campus.

Camp Kesem – a summer camp for children whose parents are battling cancer – hosted the silent auction and dinner to raise money for the program’s operating costs. Thirty-six items were up for bid, including airline tickets and a pair of drumsticks autographed by University President Steven Knapp.

“Thanks to the generosity of friends, family members and other supporters, it has not been overly difficult to meet our fundraising goals,” fundraising co-chair and junior Calder Stembel said. “Just as important as the monetary contributions was the opportunity for our supporters to meet our student volunteers and some of the families we serve.”

Camp Kesem is a week-long program for children ages six to 13 whose parents are battling various stages of cancer. It is one of 24 camps across the U.S. all run and staffed entirely by college students. GW students started their own camp three years ago at a YMCA campsite in Edgewater, Md.

“There are a lot of people on campus who still don’t know about it,” fundraising co-chair and freshman Lauren Kalina said. “Hopefully there will be some tear-jerkers who will encourage people to donate to Camp Kesem.”

Kalina said “Share the Magic” is the hallmark fundraiser for GW’s Camp Kesem, which relies on donations from individuals for nearly 80 percent of the camp’s operating budget. Organizers said about 50 invited guests were in attendance.

“This was our second annual ‘Share the Magic’ event and it was far more ambitious than our first one,” Stembel said.

Potential donors heard from staffers and participants who shared how the camp impacted their lives.

Aaron Hilton, a camper whose mother had breast cancer but is now in remission, spoke to encourage donors to support the camp.

“The camp was really fun, there were a lot of activities we enjoyed, all my friends really enjoyed it,” Hilton said, adding he will be returning to Camp Kesem this summer. “Thank you to everyone who has been working on this.”

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