Camping for Cancer is Friday

ESCANABA — The Ruth Butler Building at the U.P. State Fairgrounds will be abuzz with activity Friday, all centered around raising money for the Delta County Cancer Alliance. It’s called Camping for Cancer.

From 4 p.m. to midnight, the Ruth Butler Building will have local vendors set up, a DJ playing music for dancing, a beanbag tournament, raffles, food and beverages, and a wine tasting. There will also be camping available at the fairgrounds for $20.

Through the help of sponsors and donations from local businesses, all of the proceeds from the event benefit the Delta County Cancer Alliance, said Cindy Liukkonen, the secretary of Our Community Fighting Cancer. Through a combined effort of Delta County Credit Union, Peninsula Federal Credit Union and Bay Bank, the financial institutions raised around $1,500 for the event.

The Camping for Cancer event was created by the local organization Our Community Fighting Cancer as a way to raise money to support local residents dealing with the financial burdens that accompany cancer.

“It’s just all about helping our neighbors. Cancer sucks in every color so our neighbors need our help no matter what form of cancer they’re going through. And we just want to be there to show them support and help them out as much as we can,” said Liukkonen.

Our Community Fighting Cancer was started as a way to help local residents of Delta County who are fighting cancer and used to be associated with the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. In 2017, the group was notified that due to not meeting the donation quota the ACS was discontinuing its support of the group.

“We used to be a part of the ACS, but the ACS decided Delta County wasn’t making enough money during our Relay for Life, so they pretty much said they’re not supporting us anymore. So those of us who were a big part of the Relay for Life wanted to continue to help those in our community so that’s why we started the Our Community Fighting Cancer two years ago,” Liukkonen said.

The Camping for Cancer event started the same year and replaced the Relay for Life event.

Liukkonen explained there was a bumpy start to the Camping for Cancer event due to weather, so this year there is no walk and the event itself is completely inside at the Ruth Butler Building at the U.P. State Fairgrounds.

“This year we decided that we’re just going to have it in the Ruth Butler Building,” she said.

Despite the fact there won’t be a walk, Liukkonen said there will still be luminaries with a grand march of all of the survivors of cancer, those currently fighting cancer and caregivers. She added there will also be a dove release.

“It’s a big ole party supporting our neighbors,” she said.

Last year the event raised $11,000 and this year the hope is to reach the same amount or more.

The Camping for Cancer event may conclude at midnight, but the fundraising doesn’t.

Liukkonen said the Gladstone, Pioneer Trail and Fuller campgrounds have partnered with Our Community Fighting Cancer and will be collecting donations all summer long. She added when an interested person donates, they are provided a sign that says “I’m camping for cancer” to place next to their campsite.