Most if not all of the more than 700 adults who came to enjoy the 10th annual Kemopalooza March 9 at Music Farm Columbia in the Vista have fond memories of summer camp from childhood. This weekend, they spent their money to help give those same memories to kids who have heard all their lives about what they can’t have.
Music Farm served as the venue for the first time for Kemopalooza, Palmetto Health Foundation’s signature fundraising event benefiting Camp Kemo Programs of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
The event included live music and dancing, a silent auction and lots of food and drinks. More than a few of those on hand were current or former campers.
“It has been a great experience. It warms my heart seeing everyone come out and raise money for Camp Kemo Programs,” said Katie Schanz, a Palmetto Health Foundation board member who served as chair for the Kemopalooza planning committee this year.
Camp Kemo is different from any other summer camp, but also exactly the same. It began in 1980 as a day camp for children with cancer and has continued ever since with an increasing number of participants each year, serving roughly 120 campers each summer.
Due to its growth, Camp Kemo began to expand into other programs, all with the goal of helping children with cancer or a blood disorder who are treated at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and their families.
“It’s all for the children, and the children’s families,” Schanz said. “They need things like Camp Kemo programs to help them through everything they’re going through. We know it’s a tough time, and we want to do anything we can to help them have some fun and just let loose a little bit.”