In March Stony Brook University competed for two grants through the Livestrong Community Impact Project to bring needed services to support families fighting cancer in our community. A call was put out for the entire campus to vote for Stony Brook to win these grants, and your voting made a difference — the University won a $10,000 grant to help implement Camp Kesem, and the Stony Brook Cancer Center won a $15,000 grant for the Creative Center Artist-in-Residence Outpatient Art Program.
“We cannot begin to express our gratitude nor contain our excitement,” said Jamie Leonard, a Stony Brook University sophomore and Camp Kesem leader. “We are unbelievably thrilled to be joining the Camp Kesem family and are so grateful to Livestrong for their unbelievable generosity.”
The University was one of 12 recipients of Camp Kesem grant funding. Camp Kesem is a national organization founded in 2000 that helps college students across the nation build and implement short summer camps for children of cancer patients, past and present.
In addition to Leonard, Team Kesem members include Emma Brower, Emily Edwards, Bobby D’angelo, Wendy Fang, Tobin George, Arjun Kumar, Jack Lupfer, Robert O’Flaherty and Christina Ortiz. Advisors for the team are Linda Bily, Jessica Klare, Maggie Knight and Jeremy Marchese.
Implementation of Camp Kesem has begun. The team is assembling undergraduate committee chairs who will be leading planning committees throughout the coming year to develop programming, community outreach and continued fundraising. SBU’s Camp Kesem will be held at an ACA-certified campground on Long Island in Summer 2014. Students, faculty and staff will be needed to volunteer at the camp.
“Our slogan during the online voting period was, ‘What would you do with $10,000? We want to change lives,’” said Leonard. “It’s still hard to believe we were lucky enough to be given this opportunity. I suppose our new slogan will be, ‘What would you do with $10,000? We will change lives.’ Again, we want to thank everyone for voting for this incredible program and gift.”
The Creative Center Artist-in-Residence Outpatient Art Program will allow patients, caregivers and staff to participate in a variety of performance, literary and visual workshops taught by local artists at the Stony Brook Cancer Center and in the community. This program provides an excellent opportunity for hospitals to provide psychosocial care to their patients through a program that has proven to lessen people’s anxiety, fears, isolation and boredom during treatment.
The Stony Brook Cancer Center has applied for and won four Livestrong grants in the past few years that have allowed the Cancer Center and Hospital to offer patients unique resources and opportunities while dealing with their treatments. This year’s Livestrong grant provides $12,000 for the artist-in-residence instructor stipends and $3,000 to purchase art supplies for the Creative Arts program.
“I am honored that Stony Brook has received these two awards and vow to continue offering meaningful programs that will ease the cancer journey for our patients and the cancer community,” said Linda Bily, Patient Advocacy and Community Outreach Coordinator.