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by Cheryl Porter
Contributing Writer

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The Giant Slayer Wins!

Last January, KCFM published Less Hair Equals More Love, the story of how 12-year-old Ben Martinez, a sixth-grader at Columbia Elementary, inspired his school chums to raise money for cancer treatment and his school principal to shed some hair. This all came about, because Ben has been fighting a rare childhood cancer, Aveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, for about a year now. That’s the bad news. The good news is, after countless trips to Los Angeles for treatment and lots of prayer, the family recently learned from the oncologist that Ben has been declared NED or no evidence of disease.

Ben’s grandmother, Linda Proctor, is co-pastor of Southwest Christian Center. She says the family is thrilled that he is NED. “Our prayer is that he will remain that way and give other patients with this particular cancer hope. We believe God gave the doctors great knowledge, and we are grateful to God for their wisdom to know how to treat this form of cancer. And by faith, we continue to believe for Ben’s healing. ‘For by His stripes we are healed (Isa 53:5).’” 

In honor of Ben’s victory and to commemorate September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Ben’s family has partnered with several local groups and businesses to put on the Childhood Cancer Awareness Event (Celebrating the Giant Slayer) on September 1 from 11am to 3pm at Mondavi Park near Columbia Elementary School in Northwest Bakersfield. This event is FREE for all families who wish to attend and will include free food, a bounce house, face painting, and balloons. There will also be a participatory balloon release in memory or in honor of loved ones.

Partners and participants include the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, Hopeful Harvest, Fairy Godmother, Amazing Bounce, Miss Kimmies Fancy Faces Face Painting, Second Star to the Right, Southwest Christian Center, NOR, Bakersfield Family Fun, and more. To show your support, consider going gold this month by wearing or displaying a gold ribbon in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. For more information on this free event, go to the Facing Ben’s Giant page on Facebook or call Diane Proctor at 912-9700.



Fair Fun: a Family Tradition

In Kern County, September means school is back in session, temps are falling, and its fair time! The current fair started as the Kern County Agricultural Fair way back in 1916 and took place where the Kern County Museum and clock tower now stand on Chester Avenue. In 1925, it became the Kern County Fair and welcomed 65,000 people for the six-day event with activities that included fun stuff like parachute jumps, aerialists, motorcycle races, and a 15-mile sweepstakes race.

This year, the fair runs from September 17-28 with an anticipated attendance of 450,000 patrons ready to enjoy rides, exhibits, competitions, concerts, vendors, and of course, fair food! New exhibits for 2014 include Discover the Dinosaurs, Butterfly Adventure, and the Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show plus tried and true favs like the all-Alaskan pig races and elephant rides. There will also be a host of concerts (free with paid fair admission) including Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Mercy Me, and Kansas. If you like to sew, the Small Miracles Foundation Blankets & Quilts for Kids competition is new this year and offers prizes for both kids and adults, plus all blankets or quilts will be donated to The Lauren Small Children’s Medical Center.

If you’re looking for a deal, there are many discount days for fair admission including Monday Madness (Sept 22, $5 admission for all until 9pm), free admission on Sept 23 with the donation of 4 cans of non-perishable food, Kids Daze, free admission for active and retired military, senior discounts, and more. For a full list of discount days, concerts, exhibits, and other events, go to kerncountyfair.com or call the fair office at (661) 833-4900. The fairgrounds are located at 1142 South P Street in Bakersfield.

Dog Party

As summer draws to a close, NOR is offering Dippin’ Dog Swim Party, a pooch-friendly party for kids and dogs of all ages. You are encouraged to bring your best doggie pal to enjoy the pool and some cool doggie adventures. And, yes, the dogs get to swim!

The event takes place Saturday, September 6, from 10am to 1pm at Greenacres Community Center Pool. The cost is just $5 if you pre-register by Friday, September 5, but goes up to $10 on the day of the event. Water and treats are included. Vendors are welcome for a $25 fee but must be dog-related and registered by Wednesday, September 3.

All proceeds go to Marley’s Mutts and Kern County Animal Shelter. Limit two pooches per guardian; all dogs must be on a leash before they enter the pool; and guardians are responsible for the behavior of their pets. Dogs must have proof of rabies shots. Only dogs are allowed in the pool, and there will be lifeguards on duty. There will be a small pool for little dogs and a big pool for bigger dogs. For further information, call 392-2010.

Downtown Delish

The Bakersfield Downtown Business Association has announced details for the 2nd Annual Taste of Downtown to benefit the Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation (DBDC) and their plan for creating a clean, safe, and welcoming area for our city center.

The event takes place in The Westchester and will feature food and wine tasting, a silent auction, live music, and waiter races with cash prizes. Participating restaurants include Castaway Mill Creek Deli, Cookie Jar, De Coeur Bake Shop, Narducci’s, Jerry’s Pizza, Sandrini’s, The Padre Hotel, Uricchio’s Trattoria, the Garden Spot, the Wall Street Café, and more.

Tickets are on sale now for $75 available through the DBA office and other downtown businesses including Kuka’s, Guarantee Shoe Center, Bike Bakersfield, and In Your Wildest Dreams. Participation is free for DBA member restaurants, and space is limited. The event takes place on Thursday, September 11, from 6pm to 10pm at 2801 F Street. For more information, contact the DBA at 325-5892.

Milk Drive

According to milklife.com, one in six Americans still struggle with hunger including 12.5 million families. Because breakfast and dairy foods play such an important nutritional role for school children and their success in the classroom, dairy farmers and milk processors nationwide have organized the Great American Milk Drive, a Feeding America program, to deliver much needed nutrient-rich milk to millions of hungry families who need it most.

By donating to this drive, you can help deliver gallons of milk to food banks across California. Feeding America food banks serve 37 million Americans per year, and milk is the number one requested food item by food banks. Unfortunately, about 95% of food banks don’t receive enough milk to meet client demand. If you would like to donate, text “milk” to 27722 or visit milklife.com/give to help make a difference for these families in need.

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