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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Kesem to host sixth annual Make the Magic Gala

People clap and cheer while holding up papers at the 2023 Kesem Make the Magic Gala last spring. The sixth annual gala will happen at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Hopkins Park Shelter. (Courtesy of Darby McGowan)

DeKALBKesem will host its annual Make the Magic Gala Saturday to raise money for its organization through a dinner and silent auction.

From 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hopkins Park Shelter, the sixth annual Kesem Make the Magic Gala will take place to raise money and inform attendees about their organization.

Kesem is a national, nonprofit organization with over 130 chapters. They aim to provide support to children – ages 6 to 18 – who have a parent undergoing, recovering or passed away from cancer. 

The gala is important for Kesem’s fundraising, said Darby McGowan, the co-director for NIU’s Kesem chapter. 

“It’s just an opportunity to invite all of our supporters into the Kesem space and just gives us an opportunity to really boost our fundraising,” McGowan said. “We’re able to showcase what we do at camp for the people who don’t get to camp with us a lot.”  

Those who want to attend the event can buy single tickets for $70. There is also an option to buy tickets for a table of eight for $560. 

McGowan said there will be many ways for attendees to donate to Kesem at the gala. 

”There is going to be multiple ways to donate money to the chapter, including both a silent auction, and a paddle raise, where they asked donors to raise their paddle for different thresholds, which start at $1,000 going down,” McGowan said.

The attire for the gala is semi-formal. Admission includes a cocktail hour, dinner, dessert and drinks, according to NIU’s Make the Magic Website.  

There will be activities like heads or tails for attendees to win prizes and camp songs that are sung during Camp Kesem. 

Campers who have attended Camp Kesem will give speeches about their experiences at camp, along with both current members and alumni who are involved with the organization. 

“There will be speeches from alumni who still are invested in Kesem,” said Leah Tobben, co-director of Kesem’s NIU chapter.  

The Chicago White Sox, Bath & Body Works and Blumen Gardens will sponsor the event giving items for the silent auction portion, according to Tobben.  

McGowan said she thinks the event can be inspirational for students to attend.

“It’s really, I think, empowering in terms of the event, and I think anything related to fundraising in a way that’s like in person can be empowering,” McGowan said. “But I think this event in particular, and not even just our chapter, across all these chapters, Make the Magic, it’s just really connecting and it really solidifies our mission.” 

Kesem also offers year-round programming across the U.S., either virtually or in-person, to help children who have or had a parent with cancer. 

To purchase tickets, go to NIU’s Kesem chapter’s linktree. Donations can also be made on the linktree.  

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