June 4, 2013

CancerBgone raising funds for inpatient cancer rooms

By JEFF MEYERS Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — A series of upcoming fundraisers will be used to help renovate inpatient rooms on the cancer ward at CVPH Medical Center.

CancerBgone, a nonprofit organization created by area resident Patricia Diman in 2011 to help raise money for local cancer-related projects, has targeted the hospital’s inpatient cancer unit to transform the patient rooms into a more friendly, home-like environment.

“There are eight rooms total that are specifically designated for cancer patients who have to stay in the hospital (for intense treatment),” said Kerry Haley, director of the Foundation of CVPH Medical Center. “Our goal is to redo all of the rooms, to make them more like a home setting, a healing environment.”

Patients admitted onto the cancer unit often face extended stays in the hospital, and loved ones also spend a lot of time in the rooms visiting with them. Diman believes the renovations will help those patients and families deal with their collective battle against cancer.

“Last year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and I stayed with him every day (in a hospital in Ottawa, Ontario),” she said. “Patients are admitted because they’re fighting a tough disease; their rooms should be more comfortable for them.”

Diman’s father, Peter Kelleher, has since been released from the hospital and remains positive as he continues his battle against cancer, she added.

Meanwhile, CancerBgone has turned its attention toward the Medical Center’s inpatient rooms. Funds have already been used to renovate one room, and the series of upcoming events will help the hospital continue with those improvements.

“We’re putting in new floors,” Haley said of one of the changes in the rooms. “Instead of the tile flooring, we’re putting in laminate wood floors. We’re also using warm paint colors for the walls, flat-screen TVs. We’re redoing the headboards, making them more like wood grain.”

New furniture for when the patient’s loved ones visit is also on the shopping list, Diman added.

“It’s important for patients to know that family members are comfortable,” she said.

The cost of renovations is about $10,000 for each room, Haley noted. Other improvements include new blankets, curtains and blinds and a multimedia plug that will allow patients to plug in their laptops, iPhones or other electronic devices, she added.

Diman actually started the season’s fundraising efforts this past weekend as she and other CancerBgone members traveled to Boston to participate in the Tough Mudder national fundraising event. Local groups can take advantage of the weekend effort by raising money for local projects like the CVPH Room Restoration Fund.

Then, on Saturday, June 29, the CVPH Wellness Center at PARC will be hosting a dodgeball tournament, with all funds raised going toward the restoration fund.

The daylong event will feature teams of six to eight players, and members of the Lumber Jills Roller Derby team will be guest referees. Peru Central School is donating dodgeballs for the tourney.

On Saturday, July 6, Old Navy at Champlain Centres is hosting a bake sale, with all proceeds going to CancerBgone and the restoration fund.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, CancerBgone will hold a mile race, 5K walk and run, and zumbathon at the PARC Oval. It is the same event Diman initially began CancerBgone’s efforts with in 2011, and she hopes this year’s fundraiser will be just as successful.

The 2011 event helped raise $11,700 toward improvements to the FitzPatrick Cancer Center.

The benevolent group will conclude its summer of activities with a night of comedy at Clinton Community College on a date to be determined.

Diman, who moved to the North Country from Ottawa, Ontario, in 2008 following a horrific automobile accident that left her permanently disabled, created CancerBgone in memory of her uncle Seamus Loughery, who died from pancreatic cancer while living in Ireland.

She credits the support she has received from many volunteers who have helped organize and run the events that continue to help CancerBgone assist area residents battling with cancer diagnoses.

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TO LEARN MORE For more information on upcoming CancerBgone fundraisers, visit the organization's website at Registration forms for the upcoming dodgeball tournament can be found on the website or by visiting the CVPH Wellness Center at PARC, 295 New York Road, Plattsburgh.