Rose Buds Campout: The Heart of Innocence Blooming at the Rose Bowl Field

This is a paid partnership with  Northwestern Mutual all opinions are my own.

Childhood cancer is one of the most devastating diagnoses that a family can experience. My children lost a beloved cousin to the illness late last year and it was one of the most devastating events my children have faced in their lives, and as you know they’ve already gone through so much in their tiny lives (poverty, homelessness and domestic violence – to name a few.)  But losing Little Eric hit them very deeply.

Little Eric was a special abilities child. But no matter the health issues he faced, he was loving and kind and very attached to my son, Diego. Seeing the effects of cancer on Little Eric was the most painful experience. All he wanted to do was go outside to play, and he most enjoyed the outdoors with his family, which my children accompanied him to whenever they were in town.

Last week, children and their families affected by childhood cancer had a once-in-a-lifetime experience to camp at the Rose Bowl Stadium. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, the Rose Bowl Stadium, and the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, 200 children and families (total) were present at the inaugural Rose Buds Campout on the Field event.

The children camped on one of the most beautiful historic landmarks this past weekend – where great games, artists and even First Ladies have presented on that very field.  I remember meeting The First Lady Mrs. Regan at the Rose Bowl Stadium as a child in the late 80s.  I know this visit was a very special one, as it has been for me all these years.  Finding a sense of normalcy and letting in a little magic in these children’s lives and families are important.  Children should be given the opportunity to create beautiful long-lasting memories no matter what they’re facing, and I am thankful that organizations such as Northwestern Mutual and the Rose Bowl foundations (and their employees) continue to contribute to make such things like this happen.

The faces of the kids on these photos tell it all!

“When you get cancer, you kind of have to grow up fast.  You can’t really be a kid when you’re that grown up.  Camp gave me this new normal where I knew I was okay and had others like me, so that gave me some reassurance and the confidence to travel through the rest of my journey.”

-Bennett Unger, 14, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

“Camp is like lifting a weight off your chest.  It’s awesome.”

-Chris Serrano, 18, of Los Angeles, California


“Many of these kids never had an opportunity to be just that -kids.  Bringing them together at a camp like this lets them forget all that.”

-Eric Christophersen, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation

How You Can Help!

Northwestern Mutual is giving people the opportunity to bring camp joy to more kids: Visit to vote for the iconic venue where you’d most want to camp out. For every 25,000 votes cast July 6-23, Northwestern Mutual will grant an indoor camp experience to a pediatric cancer unit to help them bring camp-like activities to their patients.

Vote now!

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Learn more at


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