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Huffington Post Features Camp Kesem CEO, Jane Saccaro!

How My Sister’s Cancer Battle Strengthens My Resolve

“Before taking on the role of Camp Kesem’s Chief Executive Officer, I spent 15 years working for corporations. And while I loved my work, I felt compelled to find a role with a larger social mission and impact that would truly make a difference. During my search, I learned about Camp Kesem, a unique organization that not only served an often-overlooked population — children affected by a parent’s cancer — but empowered college students to make a difference. As a mother, I was drawn to the mission. And as someone who has always valued leadership opportunities for young adults, I loved the method of how Camp Kesem achieved such great impact. I was hooked.

Seven weeks after I became Camp Kesem’s new CEO, my younger sister Susan was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer. She was just 35 years old, and her three young children — Teddy, then three, and 10-month-old twins Benji and Caroline — suddenly became Camp Kesem kids, and our organization’s mission really hit home. As I watched Susan fight her battle with this brutal disease, I gained an appreciation of why Camp Kesem’s work was so important. As a parent, all you want to do is protect, love and be there for your kids. And when you cannot do that, it is beyond powerless. As hard as Susan fought to be there for her kids, she did not win this battle and died just 11 weeks after her diagnosis. I still struggle with losing my best friend and confidante every day. So I do the only thing I know how to do. I honor Susan’s legacy by doing everything I can to bring support, comfort and love not only to her three children, but to the three million children who have or have had a parent with cancer.”

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