RUMFORD – Sandee Welch is looking for participants for Saturday’s fourth annual Maine Children’s Cancer Program walk, which raises money to help Maine children afflicted with the disease.

Despite rain in the forecast, Welch expects this year’s event to draw more walkers than in past years.

“We’ve never been lucky enough to have a nice sunny day,” Welch said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve always had rain, but, hopefully, it will be nice for a while. This (walk) is finally catching on and people are getting interested. We have more groups walking this year.”

Welch, of Rumford, chairs the Rumford Elks Lodge committee project for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program at the Maine Center for Cancer Care at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

The Maine Center for Cancer Care offers outpatient consultation and treatment for children diagnosed with cancer. It is also affiliated with the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at the Portland hospital, Welch said.

“There are a lot of kids in this area who go there for treatments. One young man from here who went there just graduated from high school. Mikayla Burgess also went there and she’s been five years free” of cancer, she said.

Over the event’s past three years, participants in Rumford’s walk have raised about $4,000. That’s $6,000 shy of Welch’s goal.

“We’re getting there, though,” she said.

Instead of walking around the track at Rumford’s Hosmer Field Complex, as usual, participants will do laps around the one-mile nature walk at the complex.

Registration will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. behind the tennis courts at the river. People who raise $50 will get a T-shirt designed by a child who is fighting cancer. Walkers can do the mile or five miles or whatever they feel comfortable walking, Welch said.

Also new this year will be a release of seven pink balloons and one princess balloon in honor of Savannah Bryanne Hurley, the daughter of Melissa and Brian Hurley of Wilton.

Welch said Hurley died at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital on Aug. 1, a few days shy of her eighth birthday.

“It’s sad that children like Savannah don’t get the chance to do what kids should be doing,” Welch said.

For more information or to form a team, contact Welch at 364-2548, Denise Welch at 369-0619, or Debi Briggs at 364-2479.

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