Harrison County

New Blue Bird group will offer cancer camps on Mississippi Coast

WILLIAM COLGIN/SUN HERALD/2009Cyndie Abercrombie, left, and Anne Harvey string colored beads together during a crafts session for Camp Bluebird on Friday. The colors of the beads represent the fight against different types of cancer.
WILLIAM COLGIN/SUN HERALD/2009Cyndie Abercrombie, left, and Anne Harvey string colored beads together during a crafts session for Camp Bluebird on Friday. The colors of the beads represent the fight against different types of cancer. SUN HERALD

The cancer support group ordered closed by the Secretary of State's Office could be revived.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office said MS Gulf Coast Bluebird Cancer Retreat has 30 days to request a hearing. That seems unlikely, though, given the former director considers the charity closed. She said she hasn't worked with it in more than a year.

Meanwhile, a new similarly named group has formed to continue the retreat for cancer patients. South MS Camp Blue Bird formed in October, according to information filed with Hosemann's office.

Now, the group has to raise money and assure the public that, despite its similar name, it is not the same group.

"We are former members of the old Camp Bluebird," said Bea Harrison, the president and co-founder of the new charity. "My phone has been ringing off the hook; people wanting to know what is going on. What's so bad is some people associate us with the problems at the old camp."

When the story about the problems at MS Gulf Coast Bluebird Cancer Retreat broke, Harrison said she told members that was their opportunity to tell anyone who was concerned that this was a new Camp Bluebird that had nothing to do with the misspending outlined in Hosemann's complaint that ordered the old group to stop fundraising.

Harrison, who survived four bouts with cancer and who was a camper for several years, said the new camp is all volunteer and it plans to use all the money raised to put on a Camp Blue Bird retreat Oct. 28-30 at Seashore United Method Assembly in Biloxi.

"All the money raised will go to pay for the camp," she said.

The camp is free for cancer patients, who can sign up by calling Harrison at 324-3925.

The group's first fundraiser is a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at 6 p.m. May 20 at the Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd. Tickets are $50, which is tax deductible, Harrison said.

"It's such a worthwhile cause," she said. "It helps them with coping skills and gives them a support system. They meet other people who are going through what they are going through."

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