April 18, 2013
Make The Magic
It’s always a bit surreal to see an event which you have tirelessly planned for months to come to fruition, but I know all of committee would agree that the fundraiser two Saturdays ago was a perfect reminder of why we do what we do at Camp Kesem UCLA. From frosting almost 200 cupcakes by hand, to rolling napkins, to preparing all of the raffle items, the day-of set-up leading to the beginning of the event went off relatively without a hitch. It was another gorgeous and sun-kissed day in Los Angeles and there was a palpable excitement as committee bustled around the top of the Fowler Museum, mostly just grinning at one another in silent anticipation rather than chattering. As the last name cards were aligned at the check-in table, guests began trickling in at 5:30 p.m. just as the sun was beginning to descend, creating that almost ethereal and golden natural light, a visual signal of the magic shortly about to commence.
As I worked the front check-in table, I noted a myriad of people attending the event, from camper and counselor families and student friends of counselors, to board members of other corporations connected to cancer. The diversity of attendees only reaffirmed how relatable our cause is to almost all walks of life and how willing people are to support others whom they do not even personally know. Cocktail hour was a blur of high pitched greetings, snapping cameras, and friendly discussions between our guests. Raffle ticket sales and beverages began to flow and as the sun ducked behind the beautiful brick buildings of our campus, seats began to fill and the main event began.
Intermixed over the next two hours were dinner, musical acts and guest speakers, emceed by the ever hilarious and vivacious Fundraising Director duo of Kyle “Nachos” DiGrande and Jeremy “Bubba” Reynard. Guests were serenaded by the lovely, mellow performances of The Street Hearts band, Cadenza A Capella group, and the dulcet voices our very own counselors Brandon “Moose” Bakhshi and Sarah “Minnow” Summers. The music created a perfect light-hearted and warm ambiance to complement the emotional and inspirational personal stories about Kesem experiences as told from campers, camper parents, and counselors alike. As the entertainment portion came to a close, raffle winners were announced and just when the event seemed to be approaching a close, people mingled amicably, taking pictures, laughing, and embodying exactly what Camp Kesem is about, just being there in the moment for one another. After a while, people slowly trickled out until just committee was left, smiles plastered from ear to ear on each of our faces.
These past months and countless long nights planning Make The Magic were worth every second and the unbelievable support from each person who attended or supported our event to support these incredible kids is appreciated more than they can possibly know.
“Kesem is the silver-lining to the storm cloud that is cancer.” –Bones, camper age 10
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