The effect of having a family member with cancer can be devastating for anyone– especially children. But Camp Kesem at LSU has a mission: to support and empower kids ages six to 18 whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. 

Camp Kesem is a national organization that runs 116 chapters on college campuses in 42 states throughout the country. 

LSU is the first campus to house a chapter in Louisiana, and Camp Kesem at LSU has already raised over $20,000 to support families with cancer. The university added the chapter after it placed second in a national voting poll that landed LSU a spot for a camp. 

The organization held their first camp this past July at Camp Hardtner in Pollock, Louisiana. The seven-day camp offered support and fun for 20 campers whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer.

“The main point really is to get their mind off the cancer and give them an opportunity to explore some parts of themselves because of the circumstances that they’ve been in,” said Peyton Simons, co-director. 

Aside from hosting an annual camp, the non-profit organization has year-round programming and throws a Friends and Family day where campers can bring their families and re-unite with their friends from camp. 

“Camp is really fun and it’s the main thing that we do, but I think our ultimate goal is to create that sense of community and then continue that throughout the entire year,” said Julia St. Pierre, co-director.

Camp Kesem at LSU will host their second-annual camp next summer to which LSU students can apply for counseling positions. 

The online fundraising link for Camp Kesem at LSU is https://donate.kesem.org/campaign/friends-of-camp-kesem-at-louisiana-state-university-fy-2019/c184440