Okizu (oak-eye-zoo) comes from the Sioux language and means unity, to come together, to heal from a hurt, to make whole.
The mission of Okizu is to help all members of families affected by childhood cancer to heal through peer support, respite, mentoring, and recreational programs.
For 40 years, Okizu has been committed to the continuing support of the Oncology, Siblings, Family, Bereavement, and Teens-N-Twenties programs. These programs are the result of a collaborative effort between Okizu and the pediatric oncology treatment centers in Northern California. The specific purpose of Okizu is to operate peer support programs for children and families affected by childhood cancer based on the community-forming nature of a residential camp experience.
We understand that the financial burden associated with a pediatric cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and devastating for a family. For that reason, all of Okizu’s programs are offered free of charge to the families we serve. This provides families, especially those in the low to moderate-income community, with the same opportunity to attend any of our programs that they are eligible for. We are dedicated to serving every child and family in Northern California and Northern Nevada affected by childhood cancer who wishes to attend, regardless of physical condition, geographic location, ethnicity, or economic background.
Our Shared Vision
Providing year-round programs to support all members of our families.
Our Core Values
We believe that compassion toward our families is at the core of everything we do.
We believe in serving families coping with childhood cancer.
We believe in creating a safe place where our families can connect with and care for each other, and in creating opportunities for our supporters and volunteers to impact the lives of our families.
We believe in building stronger selves and families.
We believe in being transparent, honest, and ethical in all of our interactions.
Children who are diagnosed with cancer miss a normal childhood. Their illness, treatment, and complications can keep them from enjoying activities that often are taken for granted. And yet these children, like all children, need the opportunity to grow, experiment, and discover independence. Okizu began with the belief that a residential camp can be an ideal setting for children struggling with cancer to explore and enjoy a normal life experience while interacting with others who truly understand their illness.
We quickly learned that all family members, including the ill child, parents, and siblings, are all impacted in unique and powerful ways by childhood cancer. The opportunity for interactions with genuine peers and the strong sense of community fostered by a residential camp environment provide valuable emotional and practical support for continuing the cancer journey, while also allowing everyone to take a break from their routine and have a great time.
Okizu is more than a summer camp. We work with all of our partners, from volunteers to national medical institutions, to reach and support those we serve, year-round, and whenever we are needed.