Nov 29, 2013
It’s been a big year for EJ Manuel
Since last Thanksgiving, he’s led Florida State University to an ACC title and an Orange Bowl win, graduated from college, been selected in the first round of the NFL draft as the first quarterback overall, moved to a new city, established himself in the Bills starting quarterback role, and led his team to dramatic victories in a new era of Buffalo football.
He’s also watched his mother battle and overcome cancer.
And among all those milestones, among all those achievements, her survival is what he’s most thankful for.
“I’m thankful for my mom’s health,” said Manuel, without hesitation. “That’s the biggest thing I’m thankful for. Family. I’m just thankful for life. I think my mom going through this really put life into perspective.”
In August of 2012, just as Manuel set out for a promising year as the quarterback of FSU, his mother Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer. There’s no easy way to cope when a parent is diagnosed with cancer, but it’s certainly no easier when you’re competing on the national scale, expected to play without missing a beat on the football field.
“Obviously I had a lot of responsibilities and I’d already graduated but I had a full season ahead and at Florida State you’re expected to win each and every Saturday,” he said. “Beyond that pressure you still have your mom and her health. But she helped me out a lot because she always sounded upbeat when I talked to her. She was always positive about everything. She helped me probably more than I helped her.”
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Nov 29, 2013
CAMP KESEM COLLEGE STUDENT VOLUNTEERS JOIN NATIONAL #GIVINGTUESDAY MOVEMENT
Encouraging other Big Kids to GIVE BACK with the launch of Camp Kesem themed Giving Tuesday photo booths nation-wide
November 25, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) – Camp Kesem, a non-profit supporting children affected by a parent’s cancer, will encourage college students, “Big Kids”, across the country to GIVE BACK this #GivingTuesday with the launch of its 2013 #GivingTuesday #BigKidsGive Photo Campaign. On Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, thirty-six Camp Kesem college chapters nationwide will activate on-campus Camp Kesem themed #GivingTuesday photo booths inviting their fellow students to take photos and share them through various social media channels using the #GivingTuesday and #BigKidsGive hashtags. With these photos, Camp Kesem’s Big Kids will unite to spread the spirit of #GivingTuesday across the social media sphere and inspire their peers to take collaborative action to give back to their communities and help send more of Camp Kesem’s little kids to camp.
Each participating Camp Kesem college chapter will set up its own photo booth on campus and invite its fellow students to help spread the magic of Camp Kesem and the spirit of #GivingTuesday. Each photo booth will feature three special props for participants to creatively integrate – the beloved Camp Kesem mascot, Karl the Caterpillar; a “Donate to Camp Kesem” sign unique to each campus; and a #GivingTuesday #BigKidsGive sign. Each participant will be invited to take a photo and share it via their social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the special #GivingTuesday and #BigKidsGive hashtags.
Camp Kesem operates from 54 college campuses nationwide, each providing their surrounding communities with a student-run summer camp for kids affected by a parent’s cancer, as well as year-long peer support. “For Giving Tuesday this year, we are asking our 1,500 student volunteers from campuses all over the country to do what we know their generation does best – tweet, facebook, Instagram – all things social media”, says Jane Saccaro, CEO of Camp Kesem. “These photo booths will be a fun and creative way for college students to engage in #GivingTuesday and inspire the spirit of giving amontheir peers.
“This year we are seeing so many dynamic campaigns coming together to form one community. There is so much energy and entrepreneurialism throughout the #GivingTuesday movement,” said Henry Timms, #GivingTuesday founder and interim executive director of 92nd Street Y. “It has been humbling to see an idea that took root in one of 92Y’s core values – repairing the world – resonate with people, organizations, and business entities around the world who have taken it upon themselves to create new and innovative ways to inspire and facilitate giving.”
Participating college chapters include: Augustana College, BYU, Case Western Reserve University, College of William and Mary, Columbia University, Duke University & University of North Carolina, Emory University, Florida State University, George Washington University, Indiana University, John Hopkins University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Saint Louis University, Stony Brook University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UCSD, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Illinois, University of Miami, University of Missouri, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Southern California, University of Richmond, University of Texas – Austin, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Yale University.
On December 3rd, 2013, Camp Kesem hopes to blanket the online community with photos of college students from across the country, under the #GivingTuesday and #BigKidsGive hashtags, encouraging their communities to GIVE BACK!
About Camp Kesem
The ever-expanding Camp Kesem provides children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs. Since its establishment in 2000, Camp Kesem has provided over 5,000 children ages 6-16 with free, college-student run camps, offering the chance to escape from reality and an opportunity to just be kids. Camp Kesem currently exists at 54 college chapters in 28 states. Camp Kesem operates off donations and community support and requires no cost to families and children attending. For more information on Camp Kesem, please visit www.CampKesem.org, Facebook.com/CampKesem, and @CampKesem on Twitter & Instagram.
About Giving Tuesday
#GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate and provide incentives to give. It will culminate with a global day of giving on December 3, 2013. This effort harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners – charities, families, businesses and individuals – to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to create a global moment that is dedicated to giving around the world.
To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit:
To join in on the fun, all you have to do is print out these signs take a picture with both, and post it to your Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter using both the #givingtuesday and #bigkidsgive hashtags! We suggest using this wording with your tweet - “Today, I support @CampKesem and #GivingTuesday. Join me as I give back! #BigKidsGive. Donate at www.CampKesem.org“
Nov 20, 2013
Amber Connolly, a mother of some awesome Camp Kesem campers, won the Pink Power Mom Award this year! The Pink Power Mom Network “has transformed individually unique journeys of moms fighting, surviving and thriving into a powerful network of first-respondents for any individual impacted by breast cancer. This compassionate network empowers Pink Power Moms to continue giving back and positively impact families as they serve as community activists, sources of inspiration, and premier patient advocates.” As a mother of Camp Kesem campers and a member of the Camp Kesem Advisory Board, Amber has decided to make her charity of choice Camp Kesem!
Read more of Amber’s story here. >>
Nov 17, 2013
Within the first week of medical school, we dissected real human hearts from our cadavers. Facts presented in lecture streamed through our minds as we held this organ in our bare hands: coronary arteries supply the heart, semilunar valves prevent backflow of blood and trabeculae carneae muscles line the ventricle walls.
Lost in all the memorization and constant studying, we felt as though our real purpose for joining the medical field was obscured. Medicine, for both of us, does not mean endless poring over a textbook. Rather, our career choice is driven by the desire to connect with patients and their families and to provide exceptional care to both.
We discovered this passion during our undergraduate years through Camp Kesem (CK) MIT. This student organization is one of 54 active chapters nationwide that provides a free, annual summer camp experience and a year-round support network for kids of ages six to 18, each of whom has at least one parent with cancer.
Both of us stumbled into CK through luck. Upperclassmen encouraged us to join CK as soon as we set foot on campus. They shared countless anecdotes about how courageous the kids were, how much the kids looked up to them, and very simply, how much fun they had playing with the campers. We were hesitant at first. How could we relate and provide emotional comfort to a camper when neither of us had a parent with cancer? Nevertheless, heeding the advice of our upperclassmen, we joined. Here was a chance to kick back, relax and engage in pure, camp fun.
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Nov 12, 2013
Greg Maire was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer seven years ago. Since then, his three children have watched as he’s undergone 41 rounds of chemotherapy as a single, full-time parent.
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Nov 6, 2013
I was 15 years old when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.I remember the day she told me. My mom decided to surprise me and take me to lunch. Elated from missing class and knowing I had a junior varsity football game later that day, my passion to explain to my mom the drama of high school was probably bursting at the seams. Then, I felt out of nowhere, my mom tells me she had some testing done and she had cancer. I was slightly confused and asked a couple of questions, but her persistence on telling me she would be OK won me over.
She told me I could come along with her for any or all of her treatments, but I told her I didn’t want to miss football practice. Later that day I realized that I needed to go with my mom to treatments. With all the courage I could raise, I walked up to my football coach, and told him my mom had cancer and I might miss some practices. Thinking I might get kicked off the team or something terrible was happening, it was one of the hardest conversations I ever had to have. This is the thought process of a 15-year-old.
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Oct 21, 2013
October 17, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) – EJ Manuel, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, is pleased to announce his partnership with Camp Kesem. Manuel has signed on to lead Camp Kesem’s newest initiative, Scoring For Good, a novel fundraising program in which NFL players will donate funds to Camp Kesem each time a qualifying play is made.
For the 2013 NFL season, EJ Manuel has pledged to donate to Camp Kesem for each touchdown he makes. For Manuel, Camp Kesem’s mission hits close to home. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, so he can certainly relate to the experience of children served by Camp Kesem. Manuel, who has been open about his mother’s experience says, “When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my life changed. Camp Kesem’s mission is one that I support deeply as I can relate directly to each child they help. I am honored to be a part of Scoring For Good and this larger effort to recognize kids affected by a parent’s cancer.”
“We are so excited to have EJ join our family and bring more awareness and support these kids,” says Jane Saccaro, Camp Kesem CEO. “Camp Kesem is inspired by EJ’s desire to give back and is excited to help him promote his season this year. EJ’s partnership with Scoring For Good will help us help so many more children in need of Camp Kesem’s services, and will also help more families who need help know that this life-changing program exists. We are honored to have someone who truly relates to our mission help us help others.”
Manuel’s fans will be able to help him score for good with the SCoring For Good mobile application. The app will be available as a free download, under the name “Scoring For Good,” in both iTunes and Android stores, as well as at www.ScoringForGood.org beginning this 2013 NFL season. The ease and accessibility of Scoring For Good will encourage NFL fans and donors to follow and match Manuel’s contributions, in addition to encouraging other NFL players to join the effort. Users can download the application directly to their phone, sign up, and pledge to help their player of choice promote his performance this NFL season.
It costs Camp Kesem $1,000 to give a child one year’s worth of support, including attending 1 week of summer camp and year-round reunions with their network of friends “just like them.” For $5,000, Camp Kesem can support an entire cabin.
Manuel recently invited a group of Camp Kesem kids to a home game and plans to do so again this season so he can do as much as he can to bring visibility and support to this often-overlooked population of kids.
Click here to view his official announcement. >>
Sep 24, 2013
Didn’t watch the MSU vs. Notre Dame football game on Saturday? Here is a link to the commercial where CK Notre Dame was featured!
A diagnosis of prostate cancer changes the lives of a man and his entire family. For a child, the prospect of losing a parent is frightening and very often overwhelming. For kids living with the reality of cancer in their family, Camp Kesem in Jackson, Michigan, provides a place where they can learn to address their fears and feelings. Here, they can also make a wish for a brighter future.
That brighter future is the inspiration for Biological Sciences Professor Mark Suckow, as he works to create vaccines harvested from tumors. He explains that although most cancers are complex mixtures of cells and molecules, using a patient’s own tumor can provide the immune system with comprehensive information to attack the cancer. The vaccine he is developing could lead to a bright future for countless people. And that hope keeps the scientists at Notre Dame fighting for a cure for prostate cancer.
More information >>
Sep 9, 2013
With the Scoring for Good app, you can join 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel and Redskins tackle Tyler Polumbus and raise money for Camp Kesem, a national nonprofit organization that runs camps for children with parents who are suffering from or who have died from cancer. Smith pledged $1,000 – the cost of sending one kid to camp – for every sack he records this season.
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Aug 29, 2013
files on the children at Camp Kesem read like the notes that counselors at any camp might make on their young charges: “Fun and caring.” “Allergic to steroid-based meds.” “Happy, self-reliant.” “Upset by bullies.”
But interspersed with such comments are others, stark reminders of why these kids are spending a week in the idyllic Ossipee Mountains: “Father has stage 4 colon cancer,” “Mother’s cancer is spreading to both lungs,” “Mother is doing well from several cancers,” “Father left the state shortly after mother started chemo.”
“Besides worrying about their parent’s health and moods, some of our kids end up having to take care of siblings too,” says Angela Ma, this year’s co-director and a senior at MIT. “Sometimes, they have to grow up too quickly.”