Alaskan ice fishers raise money for families living with muscular dystrophy

Image courtesy of Heather Johnson.

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Close to 300 people hit Finger Lake in Palmer Saturday, dipping their lines to catch rainbow trout as well as raise funds for Alaskan families fighting muscle debilitating diseases.

The 5th Annual Muscular Dystrophy Association's Ice Fishing Derby for a Cure raised around $8,000, money going in large part to 130 Alaskan families living with muscular dystrophy and related diseases.

The donations provide several opportunities for those families: They give children the chance to attend any of 60 MDA summer camps across the nation; they help send families to a prominent Seattle clinic working with muscle debilitating diseases; they fund research working to extend mobility of those suffering from related diseases, and more.

MDA Development Director Heather Johnson said not as many people partook this year as compared to previous years. She said numbers were down because people were concerned about the safety of being on the ice after the Nov. 30 earthquake.

But, she said it was a beautiful day with prime ice conditions for the charitable Alaskan derby.

“I love mixing it up and doing an Alaskan-style fundraiser," Johnson said. "People come out, they ice fish, they get raffle tickets, and they raise money and have a good time.”

Johnson said the event on average has raised $10,000 and attracted around 350 people per year in its five years of operation.