EAGLE RIVER - "It's the families that have to deal with the cancer. It affects the whole family, a lot more than people really realize," says Richard Lemke, Camp Angel's coordinator.
He knows the impact cancer has on a family: he lost his wife to cancer.
Lemke volunteers for Angel on My Shoulder, a non-profit Lolly Rose founded.
She started it in 1995 in memory of her husband who died of cancer.
The foundation runs free camps for kids between the ages of 8 and 18.
"They're weekend retreats. They're support camps for kids living with people that have cancer, or they've lost a loved one to cancer. That would be a parent, grandparent, or sibling," says Rose.
Lemke's three sons went to the camp.
Like many campers, they came back as counselors. The camps have continued through the generosity of volunteers, like the Strauss family. They own Pirates Hideaway in Eagle River.
It provides family-friendly pirate tours on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes.
After 5 years, it has become a staple in the Camp Angel experience.
"We go out for 45-minutes. We enjoy popcorn and lemonade with the kids. We take a ride. We see the eagles. It's a different perspective out on the water versus your normal camp atmosphere. We do tattoos with the kids, we decorate t-shirts, and they just have a blast," says Pirates Hideaway owner Steve Strauss.
Activities like riding on the pirate ship gives Camp Angel kids the opportunity to be kids again.
"It gives the kids an opportunity to get away from the cancer and enjoy the whole weekend and not have to deal with it," adds Lemke.
So what are some of the campers' favorite memories from this weekend?
"I've met some really great people. They've become my friends," says camper Moria Sheehan.
"Probably just going around. Sailing on a pirate ship. How often do you get to do that?" says camper Tyler Foydik.
The campers may only be kids, but their strength and grace throughout these difficult times inspires. "If anybody else is going through problems with people who have cancer, I highly recommend this camp," Foydik adds.
"I just want to say to all those who have cancer, good luck," says Alissondra Quatsoe.
LAKE TOMAHAWK - All around you witness goodwill gestures. It could be as simple as a smile and wave or opening a door for someone. In Lake Tomahawk, it's making a pie.
"I made a pretzel crust with butter and sugar, " explains Sheila Punches. Sharon Hilgendorf adds, "Flour, for the thickening."
Snowshoe baseball's been entertaining crowds since the 1960's. But over at the concession stand, the pie takes center stage.
Strawberry rhubarb, banana butterscotch pie, blueberry pie, rocky road and coconut cream are just a few of the creations. "I like making ones that I think will appeal to the crowd," says Linda Penno.
Each week a different service club's in charge of the snack shack and in turn, takes home the proceeds. Locals bakers, a lot of local bakers make their best pies and donate them to support the cause.
"You get involved with it over the years and it just becomes your way of life on Mondays," says Punches.
On an average night they sell 80 pies. Each one is cut into six pieces and are only two dollars a slice. That means making almost a thousand dollars is easy as pie.
Ken Lochte of Rhinelander exclaims, "This is the only place you get your dessert first, before you get your food." "It's a great honor and pleasure and I've been doing it for quite a few years now," adds Rebecca Morien.
No matter how you slice it, everyone benefits from this unique fundraiser.
"It is unique and different which makes Lake Tomahawk special," says Morien. "It's a very good fundraiser for the community who in turn give it all back. So, it's kind of a domino effect you know," adds Hilgendorf.
If you think this is a lot of pies, the team is requesting the bakers provide double this Friday. They're hoping to have more than 200 pies for the Snowhawks game against the Wounded Warriors.
47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.
Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.
The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.
CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.
"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.
She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.
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