Cumberland cancer fund makes a difference

Darrell Cole
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Garage Guys fundraiser on Saturday

AMHERST – Holly Chapman has seen up close how the Cumberland Health Care Foundation’s Cancer Assistance Fund is making a difference for cancer patients.

Cumberland County’s cancer navigator Holly Chapman (left) and Cumberland Health Care Foundation managing director Gwen Kerr look over plans for the Garage Guys Bigger & Better Auction and Dance on Saturday .

AMHERST – Holly Chapman has seen up close how the Cumberland Health Care Foundation’s Cancer Assistance Fund is making a difference for cancer patients.

“It makes a huge difference. I have seen people who have literally made the decision not to go for treatment because they can’t afford it,” the Cumberland Health Authority’s cancer navigator said. “There are seniors who can’t drive or don’t drive and can’t get to their appointments and I’ve been in homes where it has been so cold because the patient had to make a decision between going for treatment or heating their home.”

Chapman is just beaming that a group of Amherst and area contractors, the Garage Guys, are coming together on Saturday to host a fundraising auction at the Amherst Fire Department.

She said the auction will provide much-needed support for the fund, but it will also give a boost to cancer patients in that they will know they aren’t in the fight alone.

“The feeling of support from the community is so important in that they will feel that they’re not fighting all alone,” she said. “It really makes a difference when you’re feeling so overwhelmed.”

The Garage Guys Bigger & Better Auction and Dance is set for Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight with admission by donation and all proceeds going to support the cancer fund.

There will be a pulled pork and chips dinner for $7 beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the live auction beginning at 9 p.m.

Entertainment includes Free Fall from 3 to 5 p.m., Pick n’ Grin from 5 to 7 p.m., The Elastic Big Band from 7 to 9 p.m. and Steve Butler from 10 p.m. to midnight.

More than $70,000 in merchandise is up for live and silent auction including a two-car garage package valued at more than $35,000 (to be built within 50 kilometres of Amherst), $5,000 toward the purchase or lease of a new vehicle from Amherst Chrysler or Atlantic Kia, a Via Rail travel voucher valued at $1,700, driving paving valued at $3,000, a diamond ring from JG Jewellers valued at more than $1,600, a team-signed Phoenix Coyotes jersey, Home Hardware gift cards and more.

Every donation of $20 or more gives the donor a free package of Co-Mate courtesy of Atlantic Combustion.

There will also be 50/50 draws during the day.

Foundation managing director Gwen Kerr said the cancer fund has disbursed about $111,000 since 2009 and has helped patients fighting many forms of the disease.

She said most of the requests come from patients over age 50, while 20 per cent are from those in the 25 to 50 age group.

“The demand is certainly growing,” Kerr said, adding the fund is a program that’s unique to Cumberland County and is for county residents only with all the money raised and donated staying local. “When the Garage Guys came to us it was certainly a blessing because it helps us maintain the fund and support more people. We never want to be in a position in which we have to turn someone down because of funding.”

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland Health Care Foundation, Cancer Assistance Fund, Cumberland Health Authority Amherst Fire Department Via Rail Phoenix Coyotes

Geographic location: Cumberland County

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