The mission of UKANDU is to provide joy, hope, and connection to communities impacted by childhood and adolescent cancer
We recognize that cancer impacts the entire family and we aim to provide parents and caregivers a respite from the physical, emotional and financial toll childhood cancer poses to families.
UKANDU is the largest and longest-running provider of medically-supervised camp programming available to families battling childhood and adolescent cancer in Oregon. Since 1986, UKANDU has served more than 1600 families and 4000 children providing programming, free of charge, and returning the gift of childhood to thousands of children.
At UKANDU, we recognize that kids with a cancer diagnosis are just that - KIDS! And just like any other kids, they deserve to experience the hope, joy, and community that is synonymous with childhood.
Over the years, what began as one residential summer camp program has evolved into a repertoire of year-round programs designed to meet the diverse needs of the families we serve. Each program is infused with the same 'You Can Do' spirit and outrageous fun that our flagship program, Camp UKANDU, is known for.
What our Families Say
Don't just take our word for it! Our programs wouldn't be possible without the trust and support of our amazing families. See what they have to say about their time and experiences with UKANDU.
"Both of my children at camp could not say enough about the fun they had. They came home deeply missing friends that they said are like family now and telling fun stories about their experiences there. You guys thought of every detail to make it memorable, fun, joyful, and even reflective." - UKANDU Parent
“At Camp UKANDU I learned I wasn’t the only one who spent their days in a wheelchair. I learned I wasn’t the only one who missed an entire year of school. I learned I wasn’t the only one who had to relearn how to do everyday things. I learned I wasn’t the only one who had trouble with their memory. At Camp UKANDU I realized I wasn’t as alone as I thought. I learned that our lives may have been shattered, but together we can put the pieces back together again, because of something we all needed to learn. We are not alone.” - UKANDU Participant
“It’s really hard for me to put into words just how much this camp has come to mean to me and my brother. Being around people who truly care about us, treasure us, and validate us has really helped shape us into better people and has helped heal old wounds. At Camp UKANDU I’m not that sick girl or the girl with cancer. I’m Squeaker. A camper. A friend. A ‘normal’ teen. And I feel like I matter.” - UKANDU Participant
"Her ultimate remission wasn’t when she rang that bell in Doernbecher at the end of her last chemo treatment, it was this amazing June day as she walked tall out of a camp that had healed her and given her, her confidence back as a friend, and a human being. Brenna’s life is now graced with forever friends that truly get her journey and who she is, as she truly gets their journeys and who they are. Camp UKANDU is one of the greatest resources we have in the fight to ultimately heal our children and our families." - UKANDU Parent
Planning for the first Camp UKANDU began when a small group of Candlelighter parents decided, despite their children's illness, they should get to go to camp just like every other kid.
48 campers brought to life the first Camp UKANDU on August 10, 1986 at Mt Hood Kiwanis Camp.
The UKANDU Board of Directors began a long-standing relationship with the American Cancer Society.
The 10 year anniversary of Camp UKANDU marked another move and Camp UKANDU was held at Camp Magruder on the Oregon coast near Tillamook.
The Board of Directors and volunteer staff earned the American Camping Association accredidation, a distinction Camp UKANDU maintains today.
The first ever UKANDU Teen Retreat was held at YMCA Camp Collins. Based in part on the success of the experience at that first retreat, Camp UKANDU was moved to that location near Oxbox Park and camp has been there every summer since.
As the American Cancer Society altered their mission and redirected their focus, Camp UKANDU was established as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
UKANDU’s 30th anniversary was marked with yet another big step - the hiring of our first Executive Director.
The expansion of UKANDU programs led to a formal name change from Camp UKANDU to UKANDU to better reflect all that the organization was doing.
UKANDU hired its first Program Director to oversee the wide breadth of programs now being offered.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp UKANDU was not held for the first time in 35 years. In its place, UKANDU Virtual Camp was born and virtual programming has remained a part of UKANDU's year-round offerings ever since.
UKANDU's programatic offerings expanded to include UKANDU Corps, which brought together young leaders to collaborate, plan, and execute a service project of their choosing.
The return to in-person programming included a week of Camp UKANDU as well as the launch of our brand new program - UKANDU Family Camp which was held at Camp Magruder on the Oregon Coast.
UKANDU is, first and foremost, a volunteer-driven organization. We're so grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to providing families impacted by childhood and adolescent cancer hope, joy, and connection.
UKANDU programming is 100% free to all families. We rely on donations to from our generous community. Just one week of programming costs approximately $1500 per participant.
As with every non-profit, dollars are important. However, there are many ways you can support UKANDU in delivering hope and joy to our community. Find out more below.