Broadcaster Olivia Harlan Dekker dedicated to fighting cancer
APPLETON, Wis. - Olivia Harlan Dekker is a sports broadcaster, sometimes doing podcast interviews at midnight in Turkey, where her husband, Sam, is playing professional basketball, and she's pregnant.
But all of those responsibilities can't keep her away from a very important event this weekend.
The Children's Cancer Family Foundation has been busy.
Demand for its services was up 55% in 2020 and an additional 37% last year, all during a pandemic.
The Gold Ribbon Gala fundraising event Saturday night, April 9, is crucial.
"This is our fifth straight annual gala for Children's Cancer Family Foundation," said Olivia Harlan Dekker. "I have hosted all five, which I am really proud of. Even at eight and a half months pregnant, I was not missing out this year, even though I got a little nervous when I saw the date."
Harlan Dekker grew up around the Packers and is married to Sheboygan's Sam Dekker, who played hoops for the Badgers, became a first-round NBA Draft choice and is now playing in Turkey.
"Both of our families have shown us what it means to serve others and to use your platform for good," Harlan Dekker said. "And my grandpa, Bob Harlan, has always done that. They have given so much to the Green Bay community, especially the hospital community, so the thread of fighting cancer and fundraising against cancer is a big part of what we want to do."
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While keeping up her broadcasting, Harlan Dekker has been joining her husband regularly, as well.
After keeping her commitment to host the CCFF gala in Appleton, she and Sam will become parents.
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"How much did you know about Turkey three or four years ago?" asked FOX6's Tim Van Vooren.
"Not much," said Harlan Dekker. "I probably wouldn't have found it on a map, to be honest, if it wasn't labeled. We have been there the last two years. I go back and forth about every month for the last two years. It's an amazing country, amazing people, amazing food, and so much history and culture, so we feel lucky that it's sort of come into our lives. We know this chapter, in retrospect, will be a short time in our lives when he's playing basketball, and as long as he doesn't go into coaching, I hope that one day we have one address for more than a couple of years. But no, we're happy. It's forced us to be light on our feet and just be present. Like Sam always says, be where your feet are."
Olivia and Sam got married in 2018, and they asked guests to make donations to the CCFF instead of giving them wedding gifts.
As a result, they raised more than $65,000 for the cause.