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Camp Kesem Counselor, John Groden, Shares His Story with the Chicago Sun Times

John Groden on how Camp Kesem helped him see his way out of the darkness

By JOHN GRODEN April 3, 2014 9:46AM

Normally, when someone introduces themselves, they talk about their achievements. To that end, my name is John Groden. I am a history major at the University of Notre Dame. I am an Eagle Scout, and a swimming and water polo Academic All-American. However, I also have a more personal part of my identity that I don’t often share, but that defines who I am today.

My father died when I was 5 years old. I was keenly aware of this growing up — how I was different, how much harder my mother had to work and how my friends could never really understand. I never talked to them about it, and I tried my best to pretend that everything was normal.

But my life was anything but normal.

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