Cancer is a dreadful disease that no one wants to hear they have.  Unfortunately, cancer is the secondleadingcause of death in children younger than 15 years old (, 2013).        

Children who are diagnosed with cancer often miss out on a normal childhood of creating bonds with children their own age, playing outside with schoolmates, and enjoying mouthwatering tasty food.  Their illness, treatment, and complications keep them from enjoying activities many often take for granted.        

"CampOkizu began with the belief that a residential camp can be an ideal setting for children struggling with a life threatening illness to explore and enjoy a normal life experience, while interacting with others who truly understand their illness.  [They] quickly learned that all family members, including the ill child, parents, and siblings, are impacted in powerful and unique ways by childhood cancer. The opportunity for interactions with true peers and the strong sense of community fostered by a residential camp environment provide valuable emotional and practical support for continuing the cancer journey, while also allowing everyone to take a huge break from their routine and have a great time" (, 2013).      

Okizu (oak-eye-zoo),  comes from the Sioux language and means unity,to come together, to heal from a hurt, to make whole.

The mission of Okizu is to provide peer support, respite, mentoring, and recreational programs to meet the needs of all members of families affected by childhood cancer.  Okizu has supported and continue to support Oncology, Sibling, Family, Bereavement,  and Teens-N-Twenties programs for over thirty years!  These programs provide peer support for children and families affected by childhood cancer, through residential camp experiences    

I had the honor to volunteer (oncology camp) for such an amazing,life-changing organization for the past two summers. I saw first-hand how incredible Camp Okizu is.  There are so many activities such as archery, swimming, arts and crafts, boating, fishing, and sports that children engage in.  "Camp Okizu gives [children] a chance totry new things without feeling scrutinized or made fun of if [they] are scared or not very good.  [Children] love the friendships and confidence Okizu gives [them] when [they] return home" (Oncology Camper, 2012)    

There is no charge to send your child to camp. The camping experiences are made possible through the financial support of foundations, community organizations and individuals.  My goal is to fundraise $1000to send a child to camp this summer!  Please make a difference in a child's life by donating!  Any amount will help! :)  

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