Camp Kesem provides support for children in need

Camp Kesem provides support for children in need

August 2, 2016

August 1, 2016

At Biodesign, one of our greatest goals and hopes is to begin to help tip the scales in the decades long war on cancer. 

Our innovative, high-risk cancer research focuses on saving lives through early detection, new immunotherapies, or even a vaccine to prevent cancer from ever occurring in the first place.

It’s a tough slog at times, and progress can be a daunting challenge. But we are motivated because we all know loved ones who have lost the battle to cancer.

Now, put yourself in a child’s shoes, struggling to cope with the first steps to take after the loss of their mom or dad.

For those children in need of support, there is a unique community-led experience: Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem at Arizona State University was founded in 2006 to support children in the greater Phoenix community by providing two week long summer camp experiences and year-long peer support for children.

This year, two volunteers with Biodesign connections ---Ammar Tanveer and Jude LaCava, told first hand of their experiences at the recent 2016 camp.


By Ammar Tanveer, formerly a Brenda Hogue student, now a graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. in Joe Blattman’s lab

I was fortunate enough to be a camp counselor for Camp Kesem this past week, an organization devoted to helping children through and beyond a parent's cancer.

Two things really stand out about this camp, it is entirely organized by ASU students and it is a place to have a tangible impact on an outstanding group of kids. Camp Kesem has made me a better person and it has been nothing short of life changing these past two years with the kids. Thank you to everyone who made this happen this year!


By Jude LaCava –Fox10 sportscaster and supporter of Biodesign research through the Dorothy Foundation

The devastation of a cancer diagnosis disrupts the very core of the family unit. But Camp Kasem is fighting back. A group of ASU students has been working diligently for years to support young kids and teenagers to work through the challenges of losing a parent to cancer. The week long camp is the ultimate bonding process that empowers youngsters to work together and use their inherent bravery and courage to move forward no matter what the odds. 

I was lucky enough to spend the morning with some of the remarkable young people that have answered the challenge in a very courageous way. My message to them was simple: tap into their favorite superheroes--Captain America, Superwoman, Wolverine and Spiderman--and bring those dynamic qualities to their own life to meet the challenges of losing a parent. 

I was inspired to see so many smiling faces of young people that are working through the battle of loss. I won't forget my morning at Camp Kasem for a long time to come. I also want to salute the great corps of camp volunteers that are truly the lifeblood of this remarkable camp. Keep up the great work. Never give up, and remember that working together is a very empowering process. Get behind Camp Kasem; the work being done here in Prescott is beyond special.


To learn more

Camp Kesem at Arizona State University is operated by over 80 student volunteers and serves approximately 170 children ages 6-18 per year. They strive to continue enhancing the quality and experience of our camp with our unique camper to student ratio, which is maintained between 2:1 and 3:1. Thus, creating lasting bonds between counselors and campers to foster a safe and welcoming environment for all participants.

Volunteer or get involved:

Contact us:

 (480) 818-5425