Making the cancer fight a personal one
© Darrell Cole – Amherst News
Cumberland Health Care Foundation managing director Gwen Kerr looks over plans for the Garage Guys Bigger & Better Auction and Dance with Bob McLean of R.L. McLean Construction and Bill Costin of Costin Paving. The fundraiser will see 100 per cent of the proceeds support the Cancer Assistance Fund. The event is on Sept 21 at the Amherst Fire Department with more than $50,000 in merchandise up for grabs, including a two-car garage valued at $35,000.
AMEHRST – Everyone has a reason for fighting cancer.
Bob McLean and Bill Costin have both been touched with the disease in that they’ve lost family members to cancer. They are members the Garage Guys, a group of contractors holding an auction and dance on Sept. 21 to raise money for the Cumberland Health Care Foundation’s Cancer Assistance Fund.
“You don’t realize how cancer affects you until you are faced with it. Both my wife and I have lost parents to cancer and Bill lost his wife. It’s terrible thing to have to go through as a family,” McLean said. “We wanted to do something to help out so we came together as a group to raise money to help fight cancer.”
The Garage Guys have participated in the Relay for Life, but chose this year to focus on the Cancer Assistance Fund.
“The money that’s raised by the relay and the Run for the Cure and Terry Fox Run is money that’s needed for cancer research and those programs have done amazing things. We felt that this year we wanted to do something that would help people here,” McLean said.
McLean said the group met with Gwen Kerr, the foundation’s managing director, to talk about assisting the cancer fund and decided it would be a good charity to support because 100 per cent of the money that’s raised stays in Cumberland County and is used to help cancer patients and their families.
Costin lost his wife Marjorie to cancer several years ago. During her cancer journey he saw so many others who were struggling to make ends meet because the health-care system and medical plans were unable to meet their needs.
“People are being diagnosed every day with cancer right here in this hospital and in other hospitals and they can’t afford to fight it,” Costin said. “When you meet with the oncologist they say you have to maintain a positive outlook, but that only goes so far. You begin to worry about your children, your family and your finances. It just snowballs from there.
“In many cases, their medical plans are capped and the health system won’t cover some of the other costs. Once you leave the hospital you’re basically on your own.”
Costin said his wife was very active in the fight against cancer, volunteering with many organizations and speaking at the Relay for Life event in Amherst several years ago.
Kerr said the cancer assistance fund has disbursed approximately $100,000 since it was created in 2009. That money has gone to cover the price of gas so patients could get to chemotherapy and radiation therapy in Moncton and Halifax. It’s helped cover the cost of nutritional supplements and healthy food choices at the grocery store. It’s also gone to help cover dentistry costs since patients need have their dental work completed before they can begin treatment.
McLean said the Garage Guys are all about supporting the community and he said the community is a big part of the team.
“We really need the help of the community to make this thing successful,” McLean said. “We’re doing our part by providing products and services, but it’s up to the community to come out to the fire department on the 21st. We can do this together. It’s all about helping others.”
The Garage Guys Bigger and Better Auction and Dance runs from 3 p.m. to midnight at the Amherst Fire Department on Sept. 21. There will be live music and a pulled pork dinner with both a live and silent auction.
The live auction will feature a two-car garage package valued at more than $35,000, while also featured will be driveway paving (valued at $3,000 to $5,000) and $5,000 in lease credits from Amherst Chrysler/Atlantic Kia.
Also up for grabs is an autographed Phoenix Coyotes jersey, Home Hardware gift cards and other items. There will be 50/50 draws during the event.
There are plans to add other items to the live auction.
Entertainment will be provided by Free Fall, the Elastic Big Band, Steve Butler and Pick n’ Grin.
Admission is by donation at the door.
For information, call 667-3306, 664-8659 or 667-5400 Ext. 6126.
The event is being hosted by K.L. Carter & Son, Dave Clarke’s Trucking, Casey Concrete, Newcon Construction, Harrison Home Building Centres, R.L. McLean Construction, Lake & Skinner Electrical, Steve Gibson Construction, Costin Paving, Amherst Chrysler and Atlantic Kia.