Okizu

Rating: 5 stars   67 reviews

Issues:

Location: 16 Digital Drive Novato CA 94949 USA

Mission: When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the lives of both the patient and the entire family are changed forever. Children who are diagnosed with cancer miss a normal childhood. Their illness, treatment and complications can keep them from enjoying activities that are often taken for granted. And yet, like all children, they need the opportunity to grow, experiment and discover independence. Siblings, who have a higher incidence of non-adaptive and at-risk behaviors, need support to maintain self-esteem and to manage anxiety and conflicting feelings.  Parents, whose emotional and financial resources are severely strained, also need respite, encouragement and the opportunity to share information with other families who have had to make similar treatment and strategic decisions.  Those who have tragically lost their children to cancer greatly benefit from being able to share their experiences and remember their loved ones with others who are also coping with the death of a child.  Even long after the initial phase of treatment is concluded, young adults affected by childhood cancer also struggle to live normal lives and face their future with courage and hope.  Situated on 500 beautiful acres near Lake Oroville, Camp Okizu’s unique approach allows us to address the emotional, psychological and social needs of each family member, which are often neglected by traditional medical providers. One unique aspect of camp is grouping children together in all stages of treatment and recovery.  By doing this, and not limiting the amount of summers a child can attend, we are able to provide a built-in peer support network that allows newly diagnosed campers to interact with other campers, similar in age and interest, who have already been through what they’re currently forced to experience. Campers provide hope and encouragement to each other, simply by sharing a meal or a canoe ride together.  As one camper so aptly put it, “Camp Okizu is my gas station.  It fills me up and helps me get through the year.” Tragically, 1,500 children in California are diagnosed with cancer every year. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of cancer in children is expected to continue to increase, between 1-4% a year. On a positive side, survival rates have increased dramatically during this same time period so that 70% of the children will survive. This combination of factors translates to a high demand for the services we provide to families affected by pediatric cancers.
Geographic areas served: Northern California
Programs: The Okizu Foundation provides free camp programs for any child or family in northern California and Nevada that is affected by pediatric cancer. Recognizing that childhood cancer affects the entire family, we provide programs for siblings, young adults, parents and families as a whole. Our camp programs include:
  • Oncology Camp: A one-week camp for 6-17 year olds who have or have had cancer. Offered three times each summer, Oncology Camp provides children with cancer a chance to be a part of a close-knit group of friends and enjoy the challenges and excitement of outdoor activities, which are not normally a part of a sick child's daily life. Seeing other children who are bald or missing a limb and yet are still able to run, laugh and play can make a real difference in a child's ability to cope with cancer. This support is invaluable to a child's overall recovery from cancer and the often-rigorous treatments that must be endured.
  • SIBS (Special and Important Brothers and Sisters) Camp: Also a one-week summer camp for children 6-17 years old, SIBS Camp is one of the few places in the country where siblings receive emotional and psychological support to deal with their own unique set of challenges, including feelings of guilt, resentment, fear, confusion, and anger, which can be exacerbated by additional responsibilities placed on them and by the lack of time and support parents are able to provide.
  • Family Camp Weekends: Provided six times a year, Family Camp is an experience designed to give families a few days of fun, play and relaxation, and to gain strength and support through discussions with other families who also struggle with the affects of pediatric cancer.
  • Bereavement Camp Weekends: Provided twice a year, Bereavement Camp began when a group of families suggested we hold a camp especially for those suffering from the loss of a child due to cancer. The Bereaved Family Camp Weekends give families the opportunity to speak more freely about their experiences and bond with others who are also coping with the death of a child.
  • Teens-n-Twenties (TNT) Program: Provided three weekends a year for young adults 18-25 years of age, TNT serves many of our prior campers, who had literally outgrown our camp programs but still felt a strong need to come together. These weekends provide the teenagers and young adults with an ongoing opportunity to strengthen their friendships and give and receive support from their peers.
Each year, Camp Okizu serves more than 1,500 children and families from 38 California counties and Nevada. Due to the enormous financial burden of cancer treatment, the Okizu Foundation does not charge families a fee to attend or send their children to camp. Our corps of more than 500 trained volunteer counselors help to ensure that camp participants receive both the medical and emotional support they need, and that we are able to maintain a maximum 3 to 1 camper to staff ratio at all times.
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EIN 68-0291178
415.382.9083
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I attended Camp Okizu as a sibling my entire childhood and even came back as an adult as a counselor. The bonds that I built with friends have lasted even past my camp years and well into my adult hood, I cherish those friendships and would not have survived without the. Okizu gave a place for my mom and sister to heal after my brother passed, and Okizu continues to honor my brother, Christopher Thompson, even after all these years. I am PROUD to say I am apart of the Okizu Family.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My granddaughter is a cancer patient in remission. She attends Camp Okizu every year. She and her family also attend family camp. Her sister, my other granddaughter who also has medical problems is in the Teen and Twenties club at Camp Okizu . This is a wonderful nonprofit organization. My husband and I have gone to pick the girls up from camp, nothing but SMILES, how wonderful this is to see. When you look around you see a lot of little bald heads, but it doesn’t matter there, they are not embarrassed they can be their selves and nothing but FUN. Thank You Camp Okizu for doing such a wonderful job!
Patricia Johnson

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Let more people know what you do, and how the kids enjoy such a wonderful camp. More fund raising.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My son was diagnosed with Leukemia as a young boy. It is difficult to take a trip as a family with a sick child who needs medications, is bald and acting up because of all the medications. We were able to attend several family weekends at Camp Okizu where all those things are normal, everyone has been there, nobody notices the loss of hair and other families have advice on how to deal with things. He is now in remission and a camper in the summer oncology camp...he turned down a trip to Europe because he'd rather spent a week at Camp Okizu. His older brother was under lots of stress when his brother got sick and was finally able to talk about it with other kids at siblings camp. My husband and I have donated a car, helped with fundraisers and are planning to do much more for this amazing organization that brings so much joy to families living through the nightmare of childhood cancer.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Camp Okizu has been a place my kids have longed to be every summer. My middle daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 18 months old. She started going to camp Okizu when she was 7 years old. She has been fighting cancer relapse her whole life. She is now 20 years old and is a 13 year veteran camper, never missed a year. The past two years she has gone back as an adult and volunteered her time at Camp Okizu's family camp. Her older sister also attended camp her entire childhood and also went back to volunteer as an adult for two years in a row. Her younger brother, now 15, has also been going since he was a baby (family camp with us), and to siblings camp since he was 7 years old. He loves it so much, he cant wait to volunteer at Camp Okizu like his sisters when he grows up. The kids have always felt loved, safe, supported, understood and carefree at camp. Its a place to belong, let go, have fun. The zip-lining, archery, crafts, boating, hiking, swimming, fishing, camp songs, dances, sharing time, friendships made, awesome fun counselors, fart contests, sleeping under the stars, and Tajar sightings, are just a few of the amazing memories that will last a life time. Camp Okizu is part of the fabric of our lives. Its whats made the most scary thing ever(cancer) into not so scary. We are forever grateful. Its an experience that makes you want to give back & a beautiful blessing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

none

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My mother has been greatly involved with Camp Okizu since it has opened. I visited a few times as a child but never really was able to fully understand the beauty and magic of camp. Neither my brothers nor I have gone through childhood cancer, but I still know people, children and adults affected. This summer I decided to finally volunteer (much overdue) and little did I know how grateful I would be at the end of my first volunteer week. Being a counselor has given me a new outlook not only on my own life, but on the lives of those around me. What a wonderful, wonderful family Okizu is.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

When I first came to Okizu, it was with the idea that I would give week to volunteer, because it was the right thing to do. But after only a few hours my life was transformed. The spirit that drives this organization leaves a physical mark, and begins a literal transformation on all those who participate.
Under the Leadersip of Suzie Randall, volunteers and campers alike are given the gift of a week of pure joy. The campers lives become our life force during camp, and we grow through their strength.
The laughter, tears, jokes, friendships and love are so pure, they can only be the best medicine. Camp Okizu is amazing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't .

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter is a recent survivor of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Camp Okizu helped us by connecting with other families and getting to feel normal somewhere. Our daughter had so much fun at camp and came home more confident. Sibling camp helped her sister understand more about what our family has gone through while at the same time letting her be a kid.
The wonderful staff at Okizu really care for the kids and make them all feel so loved and special.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

We just returned from our first Family Camp. I was so moved by the kindness of the staff, counselors, volunteers and other families. It was the first time my sons were able to have real camp experiences. I felt totally comfortable letting my kids go with the counselors because I know that they know how worried I can be (without having to say anything) and could deal with however my son would react - having been sick and next to me for the last 3+ years. I cannot wait to go again as I see it as a wonderful and unique opportunity for my kids to grow tremendously and to form lasting friendships over the years. Grateful!!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have camps all year long!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Okizu has been there for my Child after he was diagnose with high risk ALL Leukemia by providing him with the opportunity to attend camp even though he was under chemotherapy treatment. Okizu gave him a sense of independence, the opportunity to make friends and the chance to be able to share his feelings after a devastating diagnosis with kids just like him that knows what he is going thru. The doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers are fantastic, for the Children they are family, I still remembered his first time attending... He so was scare... When he came back the first thing he said to me " I can hardly wait for next year!!! Ever since ,my son looks forward to attend and join his new found friends. I have seen my child come back from camp more confident, independent, and mature. The last time he came from camp he said to me " Okizu has been the best thing that ever happen to me". Thank you Okizu!!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Excellent job no changes!!!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Looking forward for this year camp!!!
Life changing experience for my son ALL survivor, 8 months after finishing with his treatment, he can hardly wait to share a week out of a year with his friends, doctors, nurses, volunteers. Okizu has provided him with independence, motivation and a sense of normalcy during his chemotherapy treatment, be able to reconnect with life long friendships and share feelings, bring hope as a survivor to other campers on treatment. Best therapy!!! Camp Okizu is amazing!!!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am the Grandmother of a child with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy who attends Camp Okizu every summer. Her siblings attend during sibling weeks. They are so excited to go and the experience has helped them all cope with illness in their family.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?