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Two MIT Students Discover Passion for Medicine Through Camp Kesem (Huffington Post)

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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