Rating: 5 stars 95 95 reviews
16 Digital Drive Suite 130 Novato CA 94949 USA
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.
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, 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, more than 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.
Direct beneficiaries per year:
More than 3,000 members of families with childhood cancer.
Geographic areas served:
Okizu 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:
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Reviews for Okizu
I have been involved with Okizu (which serves kids with cancer and their families) for over 15 years, first as a volunteer camp counselor and for the last 10 as a board member. I was first moved by the connection between the foundation and its constituents (both children and parents). I saw up close as a counselor the important need that was there and the positive and enduring impact that Okizu has on those it serves, not just at summer camp but year-round. Once I joined the board, I was very impressed with the passion and dedication of the Okizu family -- from the board to the staff to the volunteers. It is truly a wonderful organization that has made a life-long impact on those it serves.
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