Okizu Receives $250,000 Commitment for Brain Tumor Event

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 General News
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Family Weekend Named for High Tech Executive James W. Hebert

MARIN COUNTY, Calif., April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Camp Okizu, a non-profit camp in northern California for kids with cancer and their families, has a new benefactor for its weekend program for families of children with brain tumors. In honor of Silicon Valley executive James W. Hebert, who died from a brain tumor at age 54 in 2006, his wife, Ronni Sarmanian, also a former tech executive, has committed to sponsor the event. This annual event, which will be called the James W. Hebert Family Camp, begins April 16 and coincides with Hebert's birthday, April 13.

The James W. Hebert Family Camp provides peer support, respite, mentoring, and recreation for children with brain tumors, their parents and siblings. In its first year the program attracted more than a dozen families and a greater number is expected this year and in the foreseeable future because the incidence of childhood brain tumors is increasing. The 2010 event, which will take place April 16-18, will be the second year Okizu has offered this brain tumor-focused event. Okizu began offering this program in recognition of the fact that children with brain tumors face special challenges: While the survival rate is now up to 50 percent, those who do survive usually face devastating side effects that affect their quality of life, such as paralysis, difficulty in walking, and other neurological challenges.

"This is not a very lucrative time for non-profits," said John Bell, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Camp Okizu, "so we are particularly pleased with this commitment now. The need for our programs continues to increase at a time when funding is more challenging than ever."

Camp Okizu -- a Sioux language word meaning coming together to heal, make whole -- was founded in 1982 by Bell and Dr. Michael D. Amylon, retired pediatric oncologist from Stanford Hospital. Their goal was to provide support, mentoring and recreation for children with cancer and their families in the natural setting of a residential camp experience. The programs result from the collaborative efforts of Okizu and 11 pediatric oncology treatment centers in northern California: California Pacific Medical Center, SF; Children's Hospital Medical Center, Oakland; David Grant USAF Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base; John Muir Hospital, Walnut Creek; Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in Oakland, Sacramento and Santa Clara; Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto; Sutter Memorial Hospital, Sacramento; UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento; UC Medical Center, SF.

James W. Hebert was the founder of multiple technology firms and was highlighted for his work at Data General Corp. in the Pulitzer Prize winning book "The Soul of a New Machine" by Tracy Kidder in 1981. He also worked for Sun Microsystems, and was a General Manager/Partner at Microsoft at his death. Hebert was an altruist in the arts and a hands-on supporter of Habitat for Humanity for many years, including just months before his death

Camp Okizu consists of 500 acres of land and forests in Berry Creek, CA. Children and their families enjoy four lakes, four camper villages with 32 cabins, four shower/bath buildings, a waterfront activity center, an amphitheater, hiking trails, archery range, ropes course, a basketball court and playing fields. The site also includes a 16,500 square-foot main lodge and a state-of-the-art health center. Operational June, July and August for summer camps and spring and fall weekend for family camps, Okizu hosts more than 700 children and their families each year with a team of more than 600 volunteer physicians, nurses, and counselors.

SOURCE The Okizu Foundation

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