The Dangers at Camp Kesem


Kesem is supposed to be a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent's cancer. A program of Kesem, Camp Kesem operates free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent's cancer. Founded at Stanford University in 2000, Camp Kesem has since expanded to over 100 chapters in 40 states across the country.

Sounds great doesn’t it. Of course it does. However, in practice it has failed my son miserably. How can a camp and organization designed around the premise of supporting children through and beyond their parent's cancer be harmful to those children? Well this is what happened to my son there and you tell me if they met their mandate. That being said, I believe that Camp Kesem is a great idea that has failed to deliver. Instead of leaving Camp Kesem better for the experience, he is much worse. Yes, he made some great friends but he has also told us some very horrific stories of how he was treated and things that happened.

In the past six years, I have spent 107 days in the hospital; have undergone 29 surgical procedures, lost both kidneys and 80% of my vision because of cancer. This has put a great strain on our Son, physically and mentally. His biggest fear is that I, his mother, or himself, will go into the hospital and never come back out. Camp Kessem at Emory University heightened that fear when its Nurse put him in a position to be in the emergency room without his parents. An issue that could have been avoided had she followed the instructions on the medications form, the outside of the brown paper bag, or on the pill bottles themselves.

When you accepted our son into Camp, we informed you of is disabilities, which included ADHD, Severe Anxiety Disorder, Executive Function Disorder, Social Communication Disorder, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia. We also provided documentation on what those diagnoses are and how best to accommodate them The setback in his psychological health has been unmeasureable and may take years to return to where he was the minute before he was raced to the hospital, scared out of his mind.

First, the primary nurse on staff, whom we believe goes by the name of Terry Karr Ryan (Camp Name "Ms. Flo"), at Camp Kesem at Emory University, as I understand it, committed malpractice. My understandin