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Okizu

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Cancer, Counseling, Mental Health, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Sports

Mission: 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.

Results: 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: Northern California

Programs: 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:

  • 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 nine times per 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 two 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 3,000 children and families from 38 California counties and Nevada. Due to the enormous financial burden of cancer treatment, Okizu does not charge families a fee to attend or send their children to camp. Our corps of more than 600 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.

Community Stories

159 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Erika Deeble C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is an amazing organization! We love going to camp each year spending time with other families affected by childhood cancer. All of the volunteers and staff care and make everyone feel welcome.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love Camp Okizu! We have made wonderful memories there with quality family time and making new friends. All of the counselors and staff are amazing.

Ray H.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just turned 18 this summer and heard about the camp from my sister who volunteered as a counselor the previous year. I'm not going to say much, but I was a pretty tech-focused, computer person (majoring in CS right now) and I will say that there is no doubt I will volunteer again next year. No doubt. Other than helping the kids to have a great time, all the joy (and sadness) I experienced during camp affects my own view in life - from as simple as appreciating my own family and also my health.
Unfortunately, I did not get to take any picture to avoid electronics as much as possible during the camp.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu changed our life. When you have a child battling cancer it's so hard to find help and support. Okizu exceeds in making sure families connect with other families. They have so many understanding and caring individuals that volunteer their time to help make a wonderful family weekend away or a week away for children, siblings and families feel normal again and get to enjoy so many experiences. Thank you Okizu for the laughter, the healing and the love you can feel at camp.

1 Natascha S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a camper at sibs camp for years. They helped my mental health by giving me a safe place to be, positive attention, and a group of peers I could share my experiences with.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu was my solace as a child. Everyone gives their time and attention to each child. They have far more love, backbone and patience than I could ever have. I have the fondest memories and I learned so many cool things. I can even still sing most of the songs! "Ooooooooh we're from Okizu, our camp is a good one....." Thank you Okizu

1 Sam O.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

this organization has some of most kind and patient people ive ever met. they not only provide a fun experience for cancer patients, survivors, and their families, they provide a space in which no one there has to worry about the taboo of cancer making a conversation or situation awkward. all campers have had their own experience with it and are able to freely talk about it with others in their age group who truly understand. its a beautiful location with lots of activities for anyone to enjoy, even for the adults who might not want to line dance or craft. they also provide amazing food, a very comfortable nurse station, and an extremely devoted staff. the counselors are what make this experience mean so much to a child and young adult, patient and kind and dedicated to keeping people on a schedule that encourages them to be active and enjoy nature for its beauty while sharing a bonding experience with their peers. whether you like more low energy activites like drawing or archery or more high energy activites like running or soccer they have it all. along with plenty of events and teamwork activities to encourage working together while being understanding of more introverted kids. okizu is an amazing place and it made me, my brother, and my sister very happy when we were younger. my brother and i attended siblings camp while our sister attended the camp for those with/recovering from/or recovered from cancer. please help keep okizu alive.

1 Mary-j T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu runs a very organized and caring camp, from the transport to camp, welcome, cabins, food, activities, games and counselors. This was our families first year at family camp, and our kids to siblings camp and oncology camp. All want to go again and also become dishie volunteers.

1 Judy M.8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Exceptional nonprofit organization offering amazing activities and cherished memories for children and families battling childhood cancers.

1 Eric S.9

Client Served

Rating: 5

My oldest son has attended the Sibs camp the last three years and absolutely loves it. So much focus was on my youngest son when he’s been in treatment, Okizu but the function on my oldest. It’s been so good for him in so many ways, thank you for everything you do!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with cancer at age 16 and lived until he was almost 22. As both camper and counselor at Camp Okizu, he developed a strong sense of self-worth and a chance to grow his talents. He was always aware that an extraordinary group of people cared deeply for him.
Our daughter, who was five years younger, got the help and empathy she badly needed at Sibs camp as both camper and counselor. She, too, was able to find self-esteem and learn valuable skills that still serve her today.
During all of those years, Okizu and its people were lights in our darkness, a place where we could be sure to find love, understanding, and the most compassionate friends we'd ever known.

1 Stacey R.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu has changed the lives of children and families living with pediatric cancer. Okizu gives them respite from their daily lives and health struggles and allows the children and their siblings to come to camp for an entire week (for free thanks to donations). I’m a nurse at camp every summer and this camp and the campers have changed my life for the better. I think I’m giving a lot when I volunteer but I’m actually getting more out of it every year. These children are so brave and strong and make lasting friendships, memories, and inner strength to get through their year thanks to Okizu and the loving, safe and fun environment it provides!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu provided a sense of belonging for me and my family. My mom was raising three kids on her own when I was diagnosed with cancer. Okizu brought an outlet and support system for her and my siblings. I am forever grateful for the positive influence that Okizu created in our lives and hearts during such a dark time.

1 Johanna B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is an amazing and magical place! I love the positive energy of all the camp counselors I love the Camp medical staff who are so kind to everyone on site! I love the great big smiles, the laughter throughout camp and most of all the big ole hugs!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is a childhood cancer survivor. This camp is a place where she feels she can relate to the other kids, they understand what she's gone through. It makes her feel surrounded by folks to whom she doesn't have to explain what it means to go through YEARS of chemotherapy. An awesome place!

1 Dustin S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has been going to this camp every summer since he was 6 years old. He is now 17 and is looking forward to giving back to this organization by becoming a counselor next summer when he is 18. He even went this summer as a dishy. He has made so many friends through Camp Okizu, some he has had since he was a 6 years old camper. I would recommend this organization to any family that has/had a child with cancer or their siblings.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our middle daughter was diagnosed with ALL when she was one. Our older daughter was three. Our first experience was when our oldest was 8 - put her on a bus knowing no one for a 5 hour bus ride for a week at Siblings Camp. She wanted to go back right away! Our middle daughter enjoyed Oncology Camp from age 6 until she died at age 11. By then, we had another daughter -both of the remaining kids went to camp until they aged out and became counselors (the youngest even became a dishie!) This camp was the best thing to happen to our family! It made the girls realize that they weren't alone. Some of their closest friends came from camp. All at no charge!

1 Anna Rose F.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is a really special place where people get to come together and really be themselves. I’ve been volunteering every summer for the past 4 years and every year I can’t wait to go back. The impact you get to see yourself make in just 7 day’s is remarkable and humbling and something I believe everyone should experience. Camp okizu is not just a summer camp but is a magical place where everyone gets to be special and included, it is a place that I look forward to going every year, to leave my world behind and become a helping hand in this fantastic organization that means so much to so many people. It’s hard to put into words the feeling you have after camp has ended but I recommend you experience it for yourself sometime.

1 Kelly H.8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu is an amazing place that has helped my family so much. It is a safe place for kids with cancer and kids who have had to battle cancer in their young lives.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son was a camp volunteer and cabin counselor for a few years while he was in high school and college. The positive impact it had on him has helped make him the compassionate man he has become. The work you do with these precious humans who are inflicted with this horrible disease has a life lasting effect on both the young people you serve and the volunteers .

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This magical place, filled with selfless staff and volunteers, helped my family and me through one of the most challenging times in our lives. My baby sister, Emily, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at age 7 months, and ultimately passed away at 18 months old. The compassionate folk at Okizu helped us all through this time with grace, kindness, love, and s'mores.
I subsequently volunteered for 7 summers as a counselor and unit leader, and only wish I had more time to give to their mission.
I hope this wonderful place continues on for years and years to come. Childhood cancer is making large medical advances but it's not gone. Until then, Okizu is there to support.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been affiliated with this organization for over 20 years. They helped me and my family through tough times. I met some of my dearest friends and many wonderful people through this program.
I hope they keep the magic alive for years to come!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with this amazing organization for over 4 years now and got to learn quite a bit about the org and the people behind it. They treat you with utmost respect and take care of you through out your stay and you can see how passionate they are with what they are doing and the things they ask you to do as part of volunteering. Highly recommend if you are looking for volunteer opportunities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu gives children and families facing cancer hope and healing

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

You have brought so much joy into my nephew's life. Thank you so much!

Jaymie-Rose S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will always cherish the memories spent at Camp Okizu.

Debbie186

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 11 years old. Our daughters Nurse practitioner highly recommended camp okizu for cancer patients and their families. Camp Okizu is our families favorite place to go. We all had a blast and were able to put aside the disease for awhile and just have fun.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2002 and started going to camp Okizu in 2003. Both my sons went to Camp Okizu at Sibs camp. 2 of my adult children now enjoy the teen in twenties (TNT) program that Okizu offers. We as a family go every year to family camp. Camp Okizu is our favorite place to go. I can honestly say that Camp Okizu has shaped my daughters life in the direction she has chosen to go now that she is an adult. We are very grateful for all that Camp Okizu does for our family.

Jessica N.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I absolutely LOVE Okizu! When I was sick I went here and after the first time I was HOOKED! I couldn’t wait for the next summer to come visit this beautiful place. All the volunteers are absolutely amazing humans and they helped me feel comfortable and normal. Like I wasn’t sick anymore. I made friends and memories that will stay with me forever. I even got my siblings to go to SIBS camp and they loved it. I. Cant wait To be able to go back as a counselor. These people and this beautiful place gives me life and makes me look forward to every summer! ♥️

Heather M.9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu had been so important for me in many stages of my life. When I was a teen I was a camper and they gave me a safe space where I could be understood as my family was dealing with my sister's cancer as well as have a fun place to "get away". As an adult I have been able to contribute as a volunteer and I have left each session a better person. It is really a magical place.

Lisa Levene S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We ❤️❤️❤️ Camp Okizu!! As a Family we will never forget what they did for us. Oncology Camp for my son going through Pediatric Brain Cancer being able to go to Oncology camp and have fun while on treatment was the best! He was able to have fun and leave his health, family, and worries aside for awhile. Our daughters attended Sibs Camp and left it all behind to have fun too!! And we attended Family Camp too!!! We are so Thankful for the opportunity given to our family! Thank you Okizu, you are the Best!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is 2 yrs old and he has siblings 4 & 6 yrs old who joined him for the family camp, we were hesitant being around so many people but everyone is friendly, kind and welcoming. It was nice to be apart of a group that works together to help other families through difficult times and learn about other experiences, it’s humbling and a great way to meet other families and enjoy time together as a family. I’m definitely coming back annually, my kids loved it and can’t wait to do it again! We love Okizu and the staff is wonderful, truly a remarkable place to be.

Thank you from the Hayward’s

Valerie Leatherby W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Children started attending Camp Okizu at 10 and 11 years old after our daughter had liver cancer. They are now 21 and 23 and continue to volunteer as counselors. Okizu had an immense impact on all of our lives. Such a gift to children and families impacted by childhood cancer.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Devin was dx with Rhabdomyosarcoma at age 6. He went through 54 weeks of Chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. On June 30th 2017 was his last chemo and is NED.

His older sibling Christine was introduced to camp okizu fron iut hospital. Devin was not comfortable yet going. She came back from camp so happy and made new friends at sibs camp. Christine couldn't wait to tell Devin about her experiences. He was ready to go by 2019 summer and is happy he did. He made lots of friends.
This camp also gives kids an opportunity to express their self and childhood cancer.

Thank you camp okizu

Katrina M.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Okizu in 2018 and immediately fell in love with their mission, staff, and campers. Their dedication to providing an inclusive, wholistic experience for all kids and family members is incredible, and I love the energy the staff brings all day every day.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing sleepaway camp experience! My kids look forward to this all year and have made special lifelong friends that truly know what they have gone through as pediatric cancer patients or as the super special siblings. We are thankful that a place like Okizu exists with their mission.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When our son got sick his older sister felt so left out sad, scared and hurt by everything and we sent her to SIBS camp for the first time in 2013. It was the best thing we did for her. To be able to spend a week with other kids like her I. The same situation was great. She was able to be a little kid again. As parents we could never have afforded to send her to a camp like that if it wasn’t free for the families. We did family camp that year too and it was amazing. Our daughter has gone to SIBS camp for the last 7 years and our so. Went to onc camp for the first time this year and loved it. I am very thankful for this amazing healing place.

Sue Moran D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our grandson was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in 2016. He and his brother have been going to Okizu camp for the past 3 years. They always have an amazing time. The care and dedication of your entire staff is heartwarming. We are forever grateful to Okizu summer camp!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 7 year old son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December 2018. Past sever months have been extremely hard. We have heard about Okizu through our Oncology Clinic and we went to our first family camp in September 2019. It was an unbelievable experience. Meeting other families that know exactly what we are going through was great, taking about what we have been dealing with to people that know exactly how it is felt so good. My son met other kids with leukemia. He made great friends and he loved every minute of the weekend. Okizu, thank you for a wonderful work you are doing!

Jenn F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our family loves it there!! We look forward to it every year, and sibs/onc camp the kids absolutely love, my oldest is counting down until she can be a counselor:)

James E.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing organization creating meaningful positive relationships for all families and persons affected by childhood cancer. Much love to all who maintain the lively hood of this paramount nonprofit.

Sarah H.13

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love OKIZU. My oldest son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in 2016. Our lives changed that day, and we found ourselves feeling alone often. Billy didn’t survived, but because of OKIZU my other son doesn’t feel alone. Every summer he gets to be with other kids who understand a difficult part of his life. He get to talk about his brother with kids who get it. He gets to have fun and not feel guilty and see others doing it too. I’m so grateful for all that they do.

Jennifer R.7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Such an amazing place for cancer survivors and siblings to experience. My daughter is a survivor and looks forward to attending camp every year. Being able to share her experience with other survivors is so important to her. She has made life long friends at camp Okizu and plans on being a volunteer to help other kids like her deal with what they had to go through. The counselors make camp a truly amazing experience that I am grateful for.

Laura Bermudez R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for this nonprofit going on to 10 years. It is impossible to measure how much this organization gives to the families that come heart broken and beaten down by this horrible disease. The smiles, laughs, tears and peace that the families walk away with by the end of their time is worth it all. I hope to continue to participate in the years to come.

Sierra B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was our 1st time at okizu family camp. My 2 year old son bryson who battling leukemia was able to play without me near and made lots of friends. The parent support groups were amazing and helped me understand and get things out i been keeping. The family activities were all so fun.zip lining was my sons favorite..we defiently cant wait for next year and years counting.

1 Jenny S.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2016, our daughter was diagnosed with AML and say lost her battle 5 months after diagnosis. Although she never got the opportunity to experience camp Okizu, we have been numerous times. Our son as been to 3 sibs weeks and 1 bereaved teen weekend. He absolutely looks forward to going every year!! We have truly found a safe place for our bereaved family and look forward to many years there and our son looks forward to becoming a counselor one day.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter, Kayla, was having a bone marrow transplant. It was brutal. One of the nurses asked if my son, Austin, who was 7 at the time, would like to attend the siblings camp. He hopped on the bus to camp a few days later. It was great for him to go do something fun during such a difficult time. He had a blast! There was swimming, fishing, archery, a ropes course, art, making s'mores around the campfire and so much more. It was amazing!. We subsequently attended the family camp and Kayla did the oncology camp several times. Okizu is a very special place!

Kelly E.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu is a magical place . . . It's where my son spent his first and last family camp (before he died of Burkitt's Lymphoma). It's where his siblings get to go to SIBS camp (for the last 5 years) and recharge . . . It's where they get to spend a weekend with other teens that have lost a sibling to cancer and not feel alone in their reality . . . It's where our daughter now volunteers . . . it's where part of Sawyer's spirit will always LIVE. We know first hand how amazing Okizu is for kids with cancer, and their families and we vow to raise as much money as we can to help make sure it continues to be a place of love, support and respite for all families that know the beast that is cancer. Their staff, volunteers, nurses and doctors make this place what it is. NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE. #livelikesoy

Elizabeth198

Client Served

Rating: 5

We lost our son to ALL back in 2006. At the same time, literally two days later, I gave birth to my oldest daughter. I was having a very hard time processing both events. My son's social worker told me about this camp for kids with cancer and their families. I decided that it might be good to check out Okizu to see if it would help us find closure in these major life events. It was hard at first but I'm so glad we went.

Being able to talk to other families whom have experienced some of the same issues that go along with a childhood major illness and loss was invaluable to my family. It showed us what or life could be like and that we would eventually be OK some day. Hearing other families experiences also gave us a greater appreciation for our own. I don't know how we would have been able to connect with people who have walked the same path if it weren't for Okizu.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Okizu has always been a special place for my family. After losing our son to cancer, we were sent to camp in order to begin to heal. We came to know some great families who shared similar circumstances, all while being supported by the exceptional staff of Okizu. We look forward to going year after year and being there for families who are just starting their journeys. I can't begin to imagine how they do what they do year after year, sharing their live and our heartache and pain, but they always are there.

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of a kind experience. Being surrounded by nature & fellow families that have been touched by childhood cancer like ours is a beautiful thing. That sense of community & understanding that you can only get from people that have been through it. The counselors were so amazing with the kids & we all had an amazing weekend. Can’t waut to go back!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is a wonderful place. The staff and volunteers are so kind and caring. We went there when my son had cancer and he and his siblings loved it. It was great being able to meet with other families dealing with the same thing. We have awesome memories of going there although we have now moved out of state. If we hadn't, we would still be going back.

Beverly W.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family just spent an incredible family camp weekend at Okizu & made loving memories in a peaceful & glorious setting. Everyone was so welcoming & kind. Genuine & warm to our family who has been feeling alone in this cancer world. A light of hope!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter died from brain cancer at the age of 7. We started attending Camp Okizu for the support they provide to families like ours. We have attended Family Camp and our other daughter attends the Sibs Camp and Bereaved Teen camp. There is nothing like being around others who understand what we are going through and that is what Okizu gives us. I cannot thank them enough. This is an amazing organization!!

Roxanne O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with Leukemia ALL at 2y10m old. This diagnosis flipped our family around. Okizu helped all of us, as a family and independently, get it together. The best camp for families, pediatric cancer kids & sibs! Our daughter later became a camp counselor for Okizu SIBS camp; the same camp she went to growing up!

Faith G.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is magical! We can't wait to go back to camp! The weekend we stayed at okizu was just what we needed. There are so many great things to say, its hard to decide where to start! Camp brought us together as a family. We left feeling happy and united, which was something I never expected. My son seemed to grow up and mature over night. My daughter and my son love it and keep asking to go back. We learned so much about navigating the school sysyem ans ieps. It was very valuable and I am so grateful okizu exists!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is one of my very favorite organizations ever. It does so much good and is such a fun place to be. I can honestly say that I have liked Camp Okizu better than our Make a Wish trip in Hawaii. Don't get me wrong, Make A Wish is a great organization also and our Hawaiian vacation was a dream come true, but Camp Oklizu is the kind of family therapy that is needed while dealing with childhood cancer. It's filled with families walking the exact same path and that in itself is an indescribable feeling. It helps tremendously to know you are not alone in facing the horror that is childhood cancer. The grounds are spectacular. The cabins are beautiful with hot water and electricity (my kind of camping), the food provided is great, there is fishing, archery, canoeing, swimming, hiking trails, a ropes course and zip line, a game room with arts and crafts. You name it, they have it. You can't be a kid and not like it there, even if you are in the middle of cancer treatments. It's great therapy to see the same children, who were in treatment and bald the year before come back the next summer with a full head of hair and healthy as can be. It's amazing for children with cancer to meet and play with other children who get what it's like to live this way. It's so fun and such a safe, relaxing atmosphere. I'm very grateful we had Camp Okizu throughout my daughter's almost 3 year long chemotherapy treatment. Bottom line, it's just a really fun place where everywhere understands where you are coming from. Both my children have gone to oncology camp and sibling camp -it provides them with self confidence and the kind of independence one only gets from those kinds of experiences. Hurrah for Camp Okizu!

Laura G.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma on his 13th birthday. That spring we went to our first Family Camp at Okizu. We thought we would have a nice weekend in the woods in a cabin with some fun activities to take our minds off what was happening, but what we found was so much more.

You really can't begin to know what it's like to have a child diagnosed with cancer until it happens to you. People can sympathize and be supportive, but they really don't know how traumatic it is when your child's very life is in danger and you have to think about it every day and deal with it somehow. At Okizu, we came together with other families who KNEW what it was like. My son made friends who KNEW what he was going through. This was the single most helpful experience for us, it was amazing and even cathartic to be able to spend time with people who KNEW and to talk about our experiences and share our joys and our pain, or just be ourselves and know we are not alone.

My son looked forward to Oncology Camp every year and came back with stories of friendship, inspiration, and healing. It helped him so much to be part of that special community, and when he was in remission, and eventually cancer-free, it helped shape him as someone who is empathetic and caring and is protective and nurturing of those who are still struggling with it.

It is such a beautiful, special place, filled with amazing, caring people. A place of healing, remembering, hope, and empowerment like no other

Anna Rose F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering at okizu for 5 years, and every time I leave I can’t wait to go back. The feeling of community and support you have is unforgettable. Truly a one of a kind camp, organization, and family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu is an amazing place. The staff make you feel welcome and comfortable during your most rough times in your life. I went every summer during the oncology weeks from 7 years of age until 16 or 17 years old. I loved going!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This place has become home for many people, including myself. The community, support and love provided by okizu is like no other and has helped me to become a better version of myself.

Maddie M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp Okizu has instantly become one of my favorite places to be! Since volunteering here for the first time last summer, I was immediately inspired but the strong, courageous, and silly kids and counselors that make Okizu what it is. Whether you’re at the waterfront, making friendship bracelets, or having some s’mores while singing campfire songs, Okizu is the summer camp experience that heals the heart, mind, and soul. I’m already looking forward to spending several weeks here volunteering next summer!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Incredibly positive experience for my 2 sons. They were able to attend together and have shared memories that will last forever. My son attends from age 9 to age 17 a few months before he passed away. It’s an opportunity for a kid who has endured the effects of cancer to relax, feel joy, feel comfortable and build their self confidence before returning to their lives.

Elisabeth L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with leukemia at age 13 and camp was over before I was discharged from the hospital. My doctor told me about Okizu and how great it was and how much fun I would have the next summer and I remember thinking, "he's out of his mind. Why would I want to camp?!" The following June my sister went to a session of SIBS camp at Okizu. She came back and couldn't stop talking about all the fun she had and the friends she'd made. I decided I would go to oncology camp and I would have fun. It was amazing. There were other kids with scars from their ports, with no hair and who were on so much chemo the mosquitoes wouldn't touch them. They were just like me. I went on to attend camp as a camper for several more summers before becoming junior staff, attending TNT weekend trips, volunteering as staff at family camp weekends, and a counselor at both SIBS and oncology camps. Camp Okizu has had such a positive influence on my life. I've made lifelong friends and can't wait to go back (maybe as a camp nurse this time?) when my children are older. Cancer sucks. Okizu is a true brightness in the darkness of pediatric cancer.

1 Alicia T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I hold my experience with Camp Okizu very close to my heart. During the difficult 2.5 years of my little sister's diagnosis and subsequent treatment for leukemia, Camp Okizu was a home and support system like none other—for my sister and for me. I was welcomed into a community of siblings who understood what my entire family was going through. It was a scary, confusing, and emotional time, but I wasn't alone. My sister volunteers with Okizu to this day and has made lifelong friends.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are plenty of charities that help kids with cancer. There are NONE that impact the families of cancer patients as a whole the way that Okizu does. My little sister had leukemia, which apart from financial strain, made it very difficult for us as a family. Since Okizu offers summer programs for siblings as well as actual patients, I was able to let out my feelings in a productive way. I knew that I wasn't the only one who felt helpless and neglected (out of necessity, not cruelty). Going to camp became the highlight of my summers. I can't think of a more worthy organization, or one with so many loving, supportive volunteers that really form a family for those they assist.

Sara B.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Camp okizu is an amazing place for children and families! I wish I could volunteer more often...this place has a dear place in my heart.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's the best place on Earth! Met my husband and my BFF there as an oncology camper in 1989. It's a place to feel normal as a cancer kid.

Jessica O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't find words to express how special this place and the staff are. They forever have a home in my heart!