Health Musings Parenting Travel

Thank You for the Kesem Love: We reached our goal!

Group - Kesem End
At the end of our journey

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Months ago, I told you about Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a free camp for kids who have been affected by a parent’s cancer. And because the camp is free, the organization relies on donations. A group of dad bloggers and myself decided to start a campaign to bring a Camp Kesem chapter to the Baltimore area in honor of our friend and fellow dad blogger Oren Miller. Oren meant a lot to us and we wanted to honor him in a special way, and to help his legacy live on in starting a Kesem chapter seemed like the perfect way. We needed $40,000 to start up the camp, and because of YOU, we raised the money.

But there are some public “Thank yous” that I would like to send out.

I asked readers to donate $100, and in doing so, I would honor one of their loved ones who battled cancer by wearing their names on a Kesem tag. Thank you Lynne (mom), Phil and Judy (my in-laws), Rory and Silvia, Doug and Karen (also in-laws), for donating tags. I’ll be honest with you, wearing those tags were difficult. They rubbed our necks raw, but it wasn’t anything compared to the suffering that those people who were honored had to endure. Some of the names that I carried I had not met. Doug and Karen honored a high school student from Doug’s classroom who fought cancer valiantly while still attending school and captured the hearts of those in her community. Rory and Silvia honored a friend who despite battling cancer, provided good nature, hope, and smiles. Phil and Judy honored their first spouses that lost battles with cancer. Those days provided a lot of introspection. I never had the opportunity to meet Phil’s late wife or Judy’s late husband, but I know them because of who they left behind. I see my late father-in-law in my children and wearing his name was an honor.  I also carried the name of my step-dad, Angelo Cavallo, who lost a battle with cancer. Every time I looked down at the dangling tag, I was reminded by the smiles he provided my mom and everyone who knew him.

There were also sponsors from the dad blogging community. Each day, a “dad” organization took upon the task of raising $1,000. City Dads, Life of Dad, National At-Home Dad Network, Dad 2.0 Summit, Doin Richards, and How to be a Dad led their followers in epic fundraising tasks. Knowing this was going on back home in the states brought extra enjoyment and encouragement to our walk.

Thank you Bryan and Lisa from www.BirthMattersNYC.com for donating funds, prayers, and words of encouragement. Also, if you are in NYC and looking for a doula or for birth education, Birth Matters NYC is a great place to start.

Thank you to Andrea, Buddy, and my mom for helping out with my kids while I was away. When a stay-at-home dad goes on a trip without the family, a lot of others need to step up. Thank you to my friends and family for helping. I couldn’t have made this trip without your help.

Thank you to the dad blogging community for supporting our walk. You donated, tweeted, walked, wrote, and lifted us up in your own ways. We felt your support the whole journey.

To my fellow Hadrian’s Wall walkers, Phil Corless, Jim Higley, Whit Honea, Brent Almond, Chris Routly, Michael Moebes, Jeff Bogle, Josh Misner, Doug French, John Pacini, and Michael Wing: Thank you for being my walking partners. Getting to know you better was a pleasure and I’m thankful for your friendship.

Thank you Carter Gaddis, who took care of all the real dirty work back in the States. We said often that Carter was working harder than we were. He made contacts and managed the social media channels. The walk would not have been the success that it was without Carter.

Most importantly, thank you to my wife and 4 kids. Leaving you was the most difficult part of the trip. My wife never once gave me a hard time about leaving. She supported me from the start and I couldn’t have made the trip without her well-wishes. She is my number one supporter in everything I do. Thank you honey for the strength and love. I appreciate you handling things at home while you worked a full-time job and prepared our home for renovation. And to my kids, not being part of your bedtime routine made my bedtime all the more difficult. Seeing your smiling faces via Skype gave me the strength to continue on. And thank you to my two oldest kids for joining in on the fundraising and donating from your own allowances.

I’m still processing the trip and will etch out a few stories at a later date.

We raised enough money to start the camp, but more money would be appreciated. With every $500 over, another kid can attend Kesem. To donate, go to www.Dads4Kesem.org. All donations go to Camp Kesem.

Thank you.

To read Dadcation’s (Moebes) walk recap, click here.

To read why we walked, click here. 

I think Doug French(Dad 2.0) took this photo at the tallest point.
I think Doug French(Dad 2.0) took this photo at the tallest point.

 

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