Fall Family Fest in Pinckney

By Mary Hall  mhall@thesuntmesnews.com

North Star Reach, a nonprofit organization that provides cost-free camp experiences to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, would like you to save the date of October 21, 2018, from 1pm–5pm, to attend its “Fall Family Fest.” The family-friendly event will raise money to help kids with serious health challenges and their families attend the medically-supported camp.

Held at North Star Reach’s facility on 105 acres of rolling hills overlooking Patterson Lake, the event will include pumpkin painting, carnival games, live music, apple cider donuts from Petey’s Donuts, and trick or treating. The camp is located at 1200 University Camp Drive in Pinckney, Michigan. After passing through the front gate, follow the dirt road to the check-in area, where there will be free valet parking.

More than 20 years ago, North Star Reach CEO Doug Armstrong, a former nurse and clinical research director at the University of Michigan Transplant Center, began taking young organ donor transplant recipients to a week-long summer camp at rented facilities. Aside from the arduous task of packing trailers with hospital equipment, medical supplies, and gear every summer, these sites were also far away from fully equipped medical centers, posing challenges for children who required advanced medical care.

In 2006, he learned of a “Fresh Air Camp” in Pinckney that had been abandoned. The land, owned by the University of Michigan, was going to be sold for real estate development. Doug convinced Dr. Robert Kelch, then Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at University of Michigan Health System, to donate the land, valued at $3 million, for the new camp through a long-term lease agreement ($1 year for 30 years). With the gift of land, a dream was born.

North Star Reach welcomed its first campers in 2016. Since then, the camp has served more than 1,000 children with serious illnesses and their families. North Star Reach is just the ninth Full Member of SeriousFun Children’s Network, which was founded by Paul Newman.

Along with attending this event and others fundraisers to help raise money for the camp, there are several ways to become a sponsor and make a generous donation. For more information, contact April Gasbarre at (734) 680 -8744 or email to april@northstarreach.org.

Tickets to the event are $5.00 (kids 2 and under are free). To register, go to: www.northstarreach.org/events/fallfamilyfest.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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