WILLIAMS - Not all children grow up with the usual bumps, bruises and colds. Some develop various forms of cancer early in their development, robbing them of a carefree childhood.
With this discouraging fact in mind, KOA Campgrounds began it's Care Camp Program in 1984 with the establishment of a trust fund.
Judy Lollich, owner of Grand Canyon KOA, speaking at the May 6 Williams Rotary Club meeting said the Care Camp program provides a once in a lifetime experience for children with cancer.
"The trust allows the kids the opportunity to go to camp and just be kids for a week," she said.
In its first year, donations to the trust totaled $7,100. The funds were distributed between six camps. Last year, donations exceeded $340,000 with 43 camps benefiting from the funding.
Arizona hosts two camps - Rainbow Camp near Payson and Sunrise Camp in Prescott. The camps are open to children ages 7-17 diagnosed with cancer along with their siblings and are free of charge.
"Last year there were literally thousands of kids that were able to go to camp," Lollich said.
In order to keep the trust strong and enable as many children to attend the camps as possible, Lollich said KOA campgrounds throughout the United States will host fundraiser events this weekend.
"KOAs can elect to support this event," she said. "If you stay Friday night with us, Saturday night is free. And then, KOAs generally host events during the weekend."
Lollich went on to say the fundraiser held in Williams will feature a raffle, which includes a GPS unit. Breakfast including biscuits and gravy, sausage, scrambled eggs and drinks and a barbecue dinner will also be available on Saturday to benefit the Care Camp Trust along with a performance by Willie Nelson impersonator Almost Willie.
The fundraiser will provide fun for the whole family.
"We'll also have pony cart rides and some other relaxing, fun events," she said. "Anyone in the local community is invited to come out and see the facilities and join in the festivities."
Those who would like to donate to the Care Camp program without spending the night at the campground are welcome to do so.
"If donations are submitted with our campground, then we can double the funds," Lollich said. "Everything the campground gives is matched by the trust. What we do is take the funds and turn it in to the Care Camp foundation and then our owners' association trust matches it. If we meet a certain dollar figure our prime stockholder in the corporation will also match."
For more information about the KOA Care Camp program visit
www.koacarecamps.com. To make a donation through Grand Canyon, contact Lollich at 635-2307.