Charities save camp for kids with cancer

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldAugust 22, 2013 

A group of charities has come together to help keep a camp going for kids with cancer near Spokane.

Agencies including Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane, YMCA of the Inland Northwest and Coaches vs. Cancer Spokane have teamed up to ensure that Camp Goodtimes-East will continue in 2014 and beyond.

Coaches vs. Cancer, which is chaired by Gonzaga University basketball coach Mark Few and his wife, Marcy, has raised more than $1 million for the camp since 2002.

"We have seen the positive effects that this camp has had on children in their fight against cancer, both during and after treatments," Marcy Few said in a news release.

"The effect has been huge," she said. "This group is stepping up to make sure that local kids fighting cancer get to continue to go to camp. We are committed to making sure that this special week of camp continues for these kids in our region."

The camp's future had been in doubt since the American Cancer Society announced it was pulling money from camps nationally in order to focus on cancer research.

The camp, with a $170,000 annual budget, was provided free of charge this summer to 139 children, most of whom are or have been sick, as well as their family and friends.

Six of the campers, as well as six of Camp Goodtimes' 85 volunteers, live in the Mid-Columbia.

The camp will "absolutely" continue to be open to kids from the Tri-Cities, Jerid Keefer, regional coordinator for Coaches vs. Cancer, told the Herald.

But other details, such as whether Camp Goodtimes will still be held at Ross Point Baptist Camp along the Spokane River in Post Falls, Idaho, have yet to be worked out.

"That is affected by funding," he said.

The organizations started working toward keeping the camp going as soon as they heard the cancer society was pulling funding in March, Keefer said. Since then, there has been a "groundswell" of support in the community.

The group will get its "Campaign for Camp" rolling with a fundraiser featuring former Saturday Night Live star Dana Carvey on Saturday at the Martin Woodson Theater at the Fox in Spokane. Money raised goes directly toward camp operating funds.

Tickets, which start at $40, may be purchased at TicketsWest locations or at

"Our goal is to bring everything together Saturday night, and put our best foot forward," Keefer said.

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