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Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands

7 Richland Medical Park Dr.
Columbia, SC 29203

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HomeProgramsCAMP KEMO ProgramsSummer CampsCAMP KEMOAbout CAMP KEMO


CAMP KEMO, a one week summer camp for children with cancer, ages 5–18 and their siblings, was first held in August 1980 with 45 participants. As this was a day camp, the agenda included many field trips as well as normal camp activities. In spite of the intense heat and buses with faulty air conditioning, camp was very successful.

Due to this success, the first week long overnight camp was held in August 1981. Overnight camp has continued for the past 29 years with an increasing number of participants each year. Each year is more successful than the last, as the community continues to support CAMP KEMO through funds, services and interest.

Sponsored by

Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders of Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands, Columbia, South Carolina


Children who have or have had cancer between the ages of 5 and 18 years and siblings of children with cancer between the ages of 7 and 16 years who received their therapy at the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders of Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands. Once a patient has been off therapy for three years they are not allowed to bring a sibling. Once a patient has been off therapy for five years they are no longer eligible to attend.

Governed by

Fourteen Council members composed of Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders staff and community leaders.


Private donations, memorials and civic organizations (no funding from hospital budget).

Camp location

River Oaks Retreat Center, Honea Path, South Carolina


Through sharing this experience with children with the same concerns, it is hoped that each child will gain strength and support. The focus of activities and interactions will be to emphasize the positive abilities of each child, to help increase the child's self-esteem and to begin preparation for re-entry into the mainstream of life.


To provide a normal camping experience for children with cancer and their siblings


  1. Provide children with cancer an opportunity to spend time with other children like him/her
  2. Allow children with cancer a chance to experience independence and develop self confidence
  3. Repair and strengthen relationship between child and sibling
  4. Provide atmosphere for siblings of cancer patients to exchange fears and feelings
  5. Give parents a week of respite from the child with cancer 
  6. Provide opportunity for staff and patients to develop a different kind of relationship.

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