'The healing waters of the McKenzie River will do its work'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A group of cancer survivors were joined by University of Oregon football players Thursday as they celebrated their recovery with a volunteer-funded fishing trip on the McKenzie.

Thursday's fishing trip was organized by The Candlelighters, a group offering support to kids and their families as they battle cancer.

McKenzie Guide Association Vice President Steve Mealey said the goal is to get the children's minds off their sicknesses by getting them on the water.

"The healing waters of the McKenzie River will do its work for them," said Mealey.

The Candlelighters and a team of volunteers funded the trip so parents like Audrey Deerdorff don't have to pay a dime.

"You don't get to take time off work," said Deerdorff, whose son recently survived cancer. "All your time goes to take care of your kid that's sick, so for them to have the opportunity to take a fishing trip down the river...that's something that we could never afford it's truly a blessing."

As a special treat, Oregon football players joined the kids on the river.

This is the second consecutive year that the candlelight group sponsored the event. Organizers said that they hope to make it an annual event with continued support from volunteers.