Cancer Crusaders holding sixth annual Haunted Walk fundraiser

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RUMFORD — The Cancer Crusaders is holding its sixth annual Haunted Halloween Walk on Oct. 24, 25 and 31 at 320 Isthmus Road.

Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 25, and 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Admission is $5. A snack and drink will be served at the end of the walk.

Resident Cindi Milligan said she and her mother started Cancer Crusaders 17 years ago as a fundraiser for “cancer patient care and research.”

“I lost my mother to cancer, I’m a survivor of ovarian cancer and my husband is a survivor of prostate cancer,” Milligan said. “Cancer has been in our family for a while now, and we created this group to help raise money to go toward cancer research.”

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Milligan’s daughter, Allison Freeman, said Cancer Crusaders stopped raising their money through the Relay For Life program last year and started directly donating their money to organizations such as the Central Maine Medical Center oncology unit, the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and the PALS program. PALS provides free air transportation for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up.

“We decided, as a team, that we wanted to start raising money for local groups,” Freeman said. “We felt like keeping it local was more important than sending it through something corporate.”

Milligan said Cancer Crusaders donated $1,500 to the PALS program last year, along with $4,500 split between the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing and the Central Maine Medical Center oncology unit, both in Lewiston.

“We’re expecting to donate to the same places this year,” Milligan said. “We’re going to wait and see how well we do this year with the Haunted Walk.”

Although Freeman and Milligan are remaining tight-lipped on what sorts of scares they’ll have set up for people, they say it will be scarier than in previous years.

In a recent news release about the walk they wrote, “If you have been here and think you know what is going to happen, you are sadly mistaken.”

“We get together as a family to sit around and talk about what sorts of new things we want to try each year,” Freeman said. “If we try something one year and it doesn’t work, we look for a way to fix it.”

Freeman said Cancer Crusaders does a majority of the setup for the walk, with a little help from friends and community members.

“There’s some people who aren’t members of the team or our family who want to help out in some way. Some people just like to scare other people,” she said with a laugh.

“We have one boy who is handicapped that has done the walk for a few years, and this year he asked if he could help out in some way. We told him that we’d find something for him to do,” she said.

The number of participants has grown steadily, Freeman said.

“Normally, we do three weekends of the haunted walk, but this year we’re only doing the last two weekends,” she said. “I’m hoping that it doesn’t hurt us, but I’m really pushing to get the word out to the community beforehand. I’ve already had people coming up to me, telling me that they’re looking forward to seeing what we did.”

For more information, contact Milligan at 357-2701, Freeman at 357-7084 or Jenn at 418-7599.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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