USW Cares: District 8 USW Jefferson Award Winner, Craig Bailey

Craig Bailey of Local Union 1693 is the District 8 USW Jefferson Award winner for starting a hugely popular and successful fundraiser in Louisville, Ky., that helps kids with cancer go to camp.

Six years ago Craig became inspired to make an impact on the lives of kids who are fighting cancer after watching an episode of Extreme Home Makeover where there was a little girl struggling through expensive cancer treatment that created financial strife for her family.

Every year since he started in 2011, Craig has organized a motorcycle poker run, live auction, and raffles as part of the fundraiser he created to pay for kids with cancer to go to Camp Quality Kentuckiana. This year, Craig’s efforts raised $71,000.

That $71,000 will pay for 71 children to go to Camp Quality this summer out of the 95 total attending, as the cost per child is $1,000.

At Camp Quality, children who are usually confined to hospitals and beds get to play outside, go to baseballs games, do crafts, swim in ponds, roast marshmallows by a campfire, bowl, fish and compete in talent shows, all with kids who are going through what they are and six oncology nurses to chaperone the fun.

Craig’s Poker Run, auction and raffles are so successful in large part because he’s partnered with local businesses to have all the prizes, food and venues donated. Participants have the chance to win trips to Cancun, jewelry and other valuables that have all been donated for the cause. With no cost to Craig for the events, one hundred percent of the money goes straight to Camp Quality.

Most of Craig’s support come from friends and their families who ride in the poker run, bet at the auction and buy raffle tickets. “This would not be as successful as it is if it wasn’t for these people,” said Craig, “Their hearts are in it and I have to give credit to them. It’s a team effort.”

Camp Quality Kentuckiana is now the largest camp of its kind because of Craig’s poker run that has raised enough money to send an increasing number of kids to camp each year. With the total funds he’s raised in six years, Craig has paid for 222 kids to attend camp and he has contributed more than any other of the camp’s donor groups.

“We could raise millions and millions of dollars and it still wouldn’t be enough,” said Craig. “I am blessed. My kid’s healthy, my God-daughter’s healthy, and I’m blessed to help anyone else’s sick child.”

Craig gets to know many of the kids at Camp Quality as well as their parents. The first camper he met was Nola, and he’s proud to say that she beat cancer and returned to Camp Quality as a companion.

This year’s poker run was in honor of a 10-year old boy named Sam. “He’s right in the thick of it now,” said Craig, “We did this year’s run to support him.”

Craig Bailey is one of hundreds of USW members making an impact on the lives of others. If you know a Steelworker who deserves recognition for commendable community service, tell us! Use the #USWCares hashtag when you post about it on social media, tag @Steelworkers, and nominate for the 2018 USW Jefferson Awardshttp://usw.to/rq.

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