Camp Kesem raises record $45,000 during fundraising gala


Source: Regan Via

Jane Nelson Saccaro, the CEO of Camp Kesem, speaks at “Make the Magic,” Camp Kesem at Northwestern University’s annual fundraising gala. The group raised a record amount of $45,954 through the event.

Catherine Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Camp Kesem at Northwestern University raised a record amount of $45,954 during its annual fundraising gala, “Make the Magic,” on Friday.

More than 200 people attended the event, held at Prairie Production in Chicago, which was organized by Medill senior Teresa Balistreri and Communication junior Amy Nadal.

Camp Kesem is a student-run, nonprofit organization that holds a summer camp to support children whose parents have cancer. The money raised will be used to subsidize costs for the summer camp and yearlong programming, said Harriet Spears, co-director of Camp Kesem at NU. The camp currently plans to serve 200 children this summer, a 144 percent increase since 2014.

“Most people know someone who’s been affected by cancer, so our mission really hit close to home for a lot of people,” Spears, a SESP senior, said.

Yearlong programming includes funding reunions with campers and constant communication with campers beyond the program, she said.

Camp Kesem has 85 student volunteers who serve as counselors during the summer at camp, Spears said.

Spears said she was excited the fundraiser was a success. The event raised about $15,000 more than the initial goal of $30,000 for the night. The money raised will contribute toward the group’s overall $110,000 goal for the year, she said.

Nadal, one of the organizers, said she thought the host committee was key in helping raise the record funds. The committee is a group of advisory board members, camper parents and community supporters who bought tables of eight for the event and brought their friends.

“We had about 10 people who were a part of the committee and brought really supportive people in the room,” Nadal said.

The committee helped give input for the fundraiser and invite guests, Spears said. The host committee also received special recognition, personalized gifts and thank yous during the event from student volunteers, she said.

Several community supporters came to the event because of its proximity and because of their excitement for the group’s mission, Spears said.

She said Camp Kesem is important to its campers because it is a place where children can explore themselves and become more confident. The camp brings a community of peers who understand what it may be like to experience having a parent with cancer, she said. After camp, the children are more able to cope with their parent’s cancer, she said.

“It’s a really satisfying feeling to see us being able to serve more campers every year, and every dollar amount that we raise we think of it in how many people are we going to be able to help because of this money,” Spears said.

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