Health

Thursday, Apr 03 2014 05:14 PM

Cancer fund's new campout fundraiser opens Friday

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BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

It's too late to organize a competitive team for Campout Against Cancer, the debut fundraiser for a new initiative to raise money for local families battling the disease, but it's not too late for individuals to enjoy the two days of festivities that begin Friday.

The event features a "kiddie camp" with activities for children, concession stands with food and drinks, and music and dance performances including concerts by the rock groups Ruby Supreme and the John Hollins Band.

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Admission is free but donations of various sizes are requested for individual events. Here are some highlights:

Friday

* Extreme games -- 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* Ruby Supreme concert -- 3:30 p.m.

* Lil Gritty Band concert -- 6 p.m.

* Hot dog barbecue -- 6 p.m.

* Boys & Girls Club, Key Stone Club performance -- 8 p.m.

Saturday

* Breakfast -- 7 a.m.

* Extreme games -- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* Ruby Supreme concert -- 11 a.m.

* Lunch -- noon

* Experience Dance performance -- 3 p.m.

* Dinner -- 5 p.m.

* John Hollins Band concert -- 6:30 p.m.

* Survivors Celebration -- 7 p.m.

* Pajama contest and zumba -- 9 p.m.

* Winning team victory lap, awards, flags -- 8 p.m.

But the main attraction is eight different "extreme games" including such challenges as a 200-foot zip line and a rock climbing wall.

Teams of at least six people will be competing for a minimum registration fee of $100. Money also will be raised through the various activities planned throughout the two-day event.

As of Thursday, there were about 30 teams registered, said Campout Against Cancer spokeswoman Gretchen Daughtery.

"We were hoping to get 20 teams of six to 10 each and we're over 30 teams now, so we're really excited," she said.

Profits from the event at State Farm Sports Village in southwest Bakersfield will benefit the Kern County Cancer Fund, founded in 2012 to help cover travel, lodging and medical expenses for Kern County families affected by cancer.

Although both sides insist there's room for the two of them, the local fundraiser is a rival of sorts of the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life, which last year raised nearly $1.7 million with 365 teams camping overnight at an athletic track.

A rift between local cancer activists erupted two years ago when some locals became disenchanted with the American Cancer Society, a national nonprofit whose donations primarily fund cancer research.

The new fund's founders wanted to see local fundraising dollars used to directly benefit Kern County cancer patients.

Bakersfield has one of the largest Relay for Life events in the world, and is a major fundraiser for the cancer society.

This year's relay is May 3 and 4 at Wingspoint, an open lot next to Meadows Field on the southwest corner of Airport and Merle Haggard drives.

For information on participating in Relay for Life, visit: www.relayforlife.org/Bakersfieldca.

For information about Campout Against Cancer, go to: http://campoutagainstcancer.org/.

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