Camp Kesem hosts its first annual Make the Magic fundraiser

Published by the Daily Athenaeum, April 7, 2017

Camp Kesem at WVU invited the community to a night dedicated to helping through and beyond their parent’s cancer.

The organization will host its first annual Make the Magic semi-formal fundraising event at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 8 on the fifth floor of Evansdale Crossing.

Through more than 80 free summer camps throughout the country, Camp Kesem provides children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer with a peer-support network to help build their confidence and strengthen their communication skills.

“Camp Kesem gave my life meaning,” said Abi Yates, a former camper and current Camp Kesem National Staff Member. “When I lost my father to cancer at age 16, I knew that I would be okay because I had a whole family of people who understood me.”

In 2016, Camp Kesem served more than 6,000 children in 38 states, and all were funded by generous donations from individuals and corporate support.

“By the end of the week, you become a support system for a child who has gone through so much in their short life,” said Carly Della Sala, the Camp Kesem WVU PR Coordinator. “It’s an unbelievable experience to be apart of. I hope I made an impact on these kids lives because they changed mine.”

Founded in 2015, Camp Kesem at WVU supports children in Northern West Virginia. The camp is organized and operated by 20 university student volunteers and provides a week-long experience over the summer as well as a year-long peer support. The student volunteers and counselors undergo 20 hours of training prior to camp and work year long to plan and fundraiser for the week.

Activities hosted at the camp include sports, drama, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts and talent shows. Nightly “cabin chats” are also included, allowing campers to open up to their peers and counselors.

This summer, the camp’s second annual session is set for June 11-16 at Camp Sandy Cove in High View, WV and will serve 40 campers aged 6 to 16.

Funds raised during Saturday’s Make the Magic event will help provide the year-long peer support as well as finances to send the children to summer camp. The night of dinner, philanthropy and entertainment includes zip-lining, canoing, slip-n-slide, s’mores and games of Gaga ball.

Admission is $50 and includes dinner and a drink. Attire is semi-formal. Visit to register.