Jim Casaburo, owner of Casa Restaurant Group, was nominated for the 2012 Spirit Award for the Children's Oncology Camping Association International (COCA-I), in recognition of his contributions to Camp Watcha Wanna Do, Ltd. Camp Watcha Wanna Do serves children and families affected by childhood cancers in Northern Indiana. Carmen DeBruce, Board President of Camp Watcha Wanna Do and Outreach Director for Lutheran Children's Hospital, nominated Jim for the award.
"There are not enough words to describe how Jim Casaburo embodies the spirit of our camp," said DeBruce. Jim has volunteered for camp for ten years, spending the entire week participating along with the children, sharing his energy and enthusiasm. Among his many contributions, Jim arranges for equipment and supply deliveries to camp and provides meals throughout the week, coordinating additional help from other locally owned restaurants.
Outside of camp, Jim serves as Vice President on the Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do Board of Directors. DeBruce adds, "Jim truly has a heart for our children." He has visited children undergoing treatments while in the hospital and assisted with transporting children to cancer treatments, when parents had difficulty missing work.
Under Casaburo's direction, in celebration of Casa Restaurant Group's thirty-fifth anniversary in October, patrons redeemed five-dollar coupons, while the camp received one dollar from each coupon redeemed. The total contribution was $2000 to Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do.
COCA-I's mission is to strengthen the international community of camps for children with cancer and their families, through networking, advocacy and education. The spirit award recognizes individuals who exemplify the values of the organization in providing meaningful camping and program experiences for children affected by childhood cancers.
A member of COCA-I, Camp Watch Wanna Do began in 1992 as a one-week resident camp for 38 children surviving cancer. In June of 2012, 110 children attended the camp and enjoyed the opportunity to hike, swim, and play away from the hospital environment, under the watchful direction of pediatric oncology staff from Lutheran Children's Hospital.