Cancer carnival celebrates 11th successful year

Item Photo by Jen Hetrick The duck pond game is something the children at the cancer carnival always enjoy, seeing what number is underneath the ducks to find out what toys they will win.

The cancer carnival at Appalachian Campsites in Upper Bern Township had another successful annual event in old style fun and comfort on Aug. 4.

While the total fundraised numbers are not calculated in full yet, organizer Margaret Bodogh, of Phillipsburg, N.J., said it went especially well, as it has in recent years despite economic conditions.

The old-fashioned carnival feel and knowing the money spent is going toward a good cause is a lot of why people seem to enjoy it, since cancer affects so many people, throughout their lives.

Previous owners of the campground began the carnival 11 years ago after a seasonal camper there died of leukemia; they wanted to do something to make a difference after the difficult loss.

This year, fundraising efforts from the carnival are going to the Lehigh Valley Hospital's Breast Health Services and also the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The carnival is linked with an annual butterfly release in early July, to honor and remember those lost or surviving any form of cancer.

'We do this with the hope of helping those dealing with cancer in one way or another, like families in need, if they don't have insurance,' Bodogh explained.

She added that the donations are also geared toward assisting people who are facing cancer and have insurance but are still very financially strained because of the astronomical costs of treatments and care not covered.

Bodogh endured breast cancer herself more than a decade ago.

With cotton candy now offered for the second year at the playful pleading of the little ones, the carnival also involves a number of old-fashioned games and a wide variety of prizes of all sorts.

And the food is all homemade, volunteered by the seasonal campers who work together in running the event each year for everyone to enjoy.

A representative from the Lehigh Valley Health Network spoke to carnival-goers, educating them about breast cancer symptoms. On the display table sat two examples of what breast masses would feel like as embedded lumps of both benign and malignant tumors-with it being difficult to tell the difference between the varied samplings.

This, of course, reinforces the importance of monthly self-breast exams and keeping well aware of bodily changes, going to the doctor whenever something unusual or less ordinary is noticed.

Midge Wenger, of Upper Bern Township, volunteered this year for the first time and ran the duck pond game for the children at the carnival.

She and her husband, Larry, have had a permanent site at the campground for a year now, despite living just up the road, because they liked the scenery and atmosphere so much after visiting friends there.

Larry volunteered in handling the hot dog cooking and distribution.

'It's a great fundraiser,' Larry said cheerfully, while keeping an eye on the hot dogs.

Cancer is close to each of them in that Midge was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer in 1988. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but it recurred in 1989.

Midge eventually saw the cancer go into remission until 2000 when she had her last surgery.

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