GRAND BLANC — Local runners and walkers can provide recreational opportunities for pediatric cancer patients by signing up for the 9th Annual Camp Quality 5K Go Gold for the Kids race.
The 5K, which is returning to an in-person format this year, will be held at the scenic Flushing County Park, 4427 N. McKinley Road, on Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The race will coincide with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and benefit Camp Quality Michigan, a non-profit that provides summer camp experiences for kids going through cancer treatments.
Camp Quality Michigan is a weeklong summer camp held at multiple locations and dates for pediatric cancer patients between the ages 4-17 (and those who gave gone into remission). During the week of camp, kids are free to challenge themselves in many ways, whether by swimming in a lake and playing on water toys, flying down ziplines or creating a trunk full of arts and crafts to take home.
Breann White, director for Camp Quality’s South Michigan site, said that the camp caters to the needs of kids at their various stages of cancer treatment.
“We have had many campers that were unable to swim one year because of a port or other medical issue, and as they progressed and went into remission the next year, they were the first one diving into the water,” she said. “Or kids that were a little nervous or scared to go down the zipline are zooming down the next year, backwards! Those are the moments camp is made of and why we all do what we do.”
Camp Quality’s first camp was held in northern Michigan over 25 years ago, and a second campsite was started 15 years ago at the YMCA’s Camp Copneconic in Fenton.
Kids who are going through cancer treatment can also take part in a camp with their siblings in Lapeer.
In addition to the 5K, Camp Quality has teamed up with the Metro Police Authority to hold a virtual 100-mile challenge fundraiser.
“Last year, one of the lieutenants suggested a goal of (running) 100 miles in September,” White said. “As soon as we heard about it, we thought it would be a great way to get everyone out and running to support Camp Quality and the kids, especially since we were unable to hold an in-person event last year.”
Altogether, officers and staff with the Metro Police force ran/walked over 800 miles to support Camp Quality in 2020.
This month, Metro Police are taking on the 100-mile challenge again, but this time they are competing against the Grand Blanc Township Police Department. The winner will take home the Security Credit Union trophy, a pizza lunch-in for the department and bragging rights for a whole year.
Runners who are entering the Camp Quality 5K race on Sunday can register online until Saturday, in person at the new Complete Runner location in Grand Blanc on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 pm or in person on the day of the 5K starting at 8:30 a.m.
To register online, visit www.runsignup.com/gogoldforthekids5k.