By JEFF MEYERS
---- — PLATTSBURGH — A regional organization dedicated to helping people meet financial needs while battling cancer continues to grow and seek community support.
The North Country Cancer Fund, founded in 2008, raises money through a series of fundraisers each year and then turns that money into a prayer answered for families who face financial obstacles while a loved one undergoes treatment for cancer.
“It’s a totally volunteer organization,” said Mike Dodds, one of about a dozen people who put in time as active volunteers for the Cancer Fund. “We raise money for local families (in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties) to pay non-medical bills.”
GRANTS TO FAMILIES
Over the past five years, the Cancer Fund has doled out around $100,000 to more than 140 families across the region, Dodds noted.
Funds have been used to help families pay their utility bills if they’ve fallen behind or to help with traveling expenses associated with cancer treatment. The fund recently helped a family pay overdue back taxes so the family would not lose its house, he added.
“The minimum amount we typically pay out is $500, unless a family asks for less,” he said. “We’ve also given as much as $1,500.”
Dodds, who is from Cadyville, is an avid golfer and first became involved with the Cancer Fund to help support some of the organization’s more popular fundraisers, a series of golf tournaments. He also felt a need to help because cancer has taken a loved one from his family.
The founding members of the Cancer Fund were brought together in 2008 when they all felt that same need as family members battled cancer diagnoses, he said. Since then, the non-profit group has continued to expand opportunities for cancer victims and their families.
Fundraisers include golf tourneys in Clinton and Essex counties. The Cancer Fund also hopes to soon establish a tourney in Franklin County, Dodds noted.
The fund also holds motorcycle rides, running and walking events and, most recently, a bowl-athon at North Bowl Lanes in Plattsburgh that was a huge success.
“One of the members of our committee has put out a website that is very good at promoting all of the activities across all three counties,” Dodds said.
“The only bad thing about it is that all of people don’t know we exist. We want to continue to get the word out that this service is available.”
Cancer patients interested in the service can access applications on the Cancer Fund’s website at northcountrycancerfund.com. A committee reviews each application and responds within a couple of weeks, Dodds added.
“Thank you so very much for the check!” said one anonymous testimonial on the organization’s website.
“Your unbelievable kindness and generosity brought a tear to my eyes. I was able to pay the hospital deductible, the many doctor co-pays and filled all of my prescriptions. God bless the work you do!”
“I cannot thank you enough for your generous gift to help my husband through this very overwhelming time in his life,” added another appreciative resident.
“When we thought it couldn’t get worse, it did, but with love and support of family, friends and fine people like you, we are beginning to see some sunshine. Keep us in your prayers.”
The Cancer Fund is planning several fundraisers, including a golf tournament at Harmony Golf Course in Port Kent on May 3 and a charity motorcycle ride at the Plattsburgh American Legion on May 5.
The fund is also seeking corporate sponsors, Dodds noted.
“All the money raised stays in the area. It’s a service we feel is very important for the community. We just want to get the word out.”
Email Jeff Meyers:firstname.lastname@example.org
TO LEARN MORE
For more information on upcoming events, call Mike Dodds at 593-2792 or email him at email@example.com