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Lemont siblings raise funds for summer camp

LEMONT – The Kahle family of Lemont has experience holding garage sales.

Mother Denise Kahle said she held two garage sales a year for 10 years while her children where in Scouts.

A garage sale was the first thing that came to mind when brother and sister Ryan and Dana Kahle wanted to hold a fundraiser for Camp Kesem, a camp for children ages 6 to 16 whose parents have or had cancer.

Ryan, 19, and Dana, 15, are collecting donated items and holding garage sales at their home throughout the summer, including a sale that will be from 9 to 1 a.m. July 12 and 13 at 18 E. Eureka Drive.

They held their first garage sale fundraiser in 2011 and raised $775. This summer, they already have raised about $1,500.

In 2001, their father, Kerry, was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, an inherited disorder that increases the risk of cancer. He died in 2011.

While their father was going through treatment, they started attending Camp Kesem.

“You spend time with people who know what you’re going through,” said Dana, who will be a sophomore at Lemont High School. “They know how to be there for you.”

When Ryan and Dana came up with the idea for a garage sale, Denise did not want to do it because she knew how much work it would be.

“I’m way too old to be doing this,” she said.

But her experience running garage sales and her contacts have been crucial.

“The idea of the fundraiser was definitely ours,” Dana said. “But the work behind the scenes is definitely hers.”

The biggest garage sale is planned for Labor Day weekend, but the family is having additional sales leading up to then because they no longer can store all the donated items they are receiving.

Denise also is careful to pre-screen donated items because she is afraid her kids will want some for themselves.

“She doesn’t like to bring more things in our house than necessary,” Ryan said.

Although it has been a lot of work for her, Denise is proud of Ryan and Dana’s efforts.

“It touches me in a way that I can’t really tell you,” she said.

To donate items, email and put the word “Kesem” in the subject line.

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