Our work began in 1983 by Donna Brown, who we lovingly refer to as “Ma” Donna. After losing her two children, Kyle and Melani, to cancer, Ma Donna was determined to create a supportive and hopeful community by connecting children and families on the cancer journey. She built that community through one of the most typical shared experiences a child with cancer can have but often doesn’t – summer camp.
For decades, we’ve been bringing together children from across the Heartland for Camp Hope, a week-long immersive camp experience operated 100% by volunteers. In 2015, we became a 501(c)3 nonprofit named KyMel, which honors the memory of Kyle and Melani, and recognizes our rich history of creating hope and connection.
Today, in recognition of the effect cancer has on the whole family, we’re looking towards the future by expanding connections through our shared experiences. We’re excited to introduce Camp SIBsational, a camp for siblings of children with cancer. It’s the first of its kind in the Heartland. With Camp Hope and Camp SIBsational as flagship programs, we are growing our community of support, connectedness and hope throughout families on the cancer journey.
In addition to the launch of Camp SIBsational, we will continue to explore opportunities to expand our shared experiences and broaden our KyMel community even more. This may include programming for parents, expanding our camps to more states, adding non-summer camp experiences (such as an in-hospital “camp”), and possibly even broadening our reach to other chronic illnesses.
What started as a special place beyond the rainbow for children with cancer on the plains of Kansas has launched a movement to support entire families. Our vision to build upon Ma Donna’s legacy will require a diverse and robust network of support and volunteers. We hope you will join us as we grow our community and build connection through shared experiences for families on the cancer journey.
It is the mission of KyMel, Inc., to support families living with, through, and beyond the cancer experience.