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HomeNewsLocal newsCancer Support VI Opens Pinktober with a $100,000 Matching Donor Campaign

Cancer Support VI Opens Pinktober with a $100,000 Matching Donor Campaign

(Shutterstock image)

To kick off October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Support VI Director Barb Michaud and a small group of volunteers were out on Mafolie Hill last Friday in pink tutus, holding out pink boots for their “Give Cancer the Boot” initiative.

Within a few hours, they had raised almost $1,000 on the way to a $100,000 goal, which is being matched dollar for dollar through a “10 for Ten Challenge” that Michaud had started weeks in advance by reaching out to local businesses and the private sector.

Speaking to the Source over the past week, Michaud said the final dollars for the match came in right as their Oct. 1 deadline hit, giving the organization what they hoped for: an entire month to double their proceeds.

“It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but universally, it’s the number-one fundraising month of the year,” Michaud said. “And what we’re experiencing is nothing short of that – we have people and volunteers and businesses from all over that have pulled together and are willing to help. While we were on Mafolie, for example, we had cars that even turned around, went home and came back to drop in a donation. It takes a village, and we live amongst extraordinary people.”

With that said, Michaud speculated that if every Virgin Islander put a dollar in the boot, the organization could reach its goal quickly, bringing in a large portion of what it needs annually to support the over 300 cancer patients through grants for insured, underinsured and uninsured populations. That amounts to about $300,000 a year, with every dollar raised going directly to those impacted by cancer throughout the territory.

“The things that we do attempt to bridge the gap between the services we have and the services our patients need,” Michaud said. “We want to ensure that there is no cancer patient left behind and though we’re a small organization, we’re mighty as well, boosted by our community.”

The mission of the organization isn’t lost on Michaud, who was one of the organization’s grant recipients. A breast cancer survivor, Michaud was underinsured when she had to travel off-island for surgery in the early 2000’s, which cost $250,000 and took seven years to pay off. With $3,000 from Cancer Support VI, getting to the finish line was easier, and Michaud said her only hope is to “pay it forward” by helping others in the same boat.

What many don’t realize is the need to travel off-island for critical services such as radiation now that many medical facilities on-island were impacted by, and are still rebuilding from, the hurricanes of 2017. The ongoing pandemic has also thrown an additional “wrench into the situation,” she added.

“People should understand what it costs for our patients to be so uprooted,” Michaud explained. “We had one that recently had to go off-island, leaving his job and his family because we don’t have something as basic as radiation. A cancer patient is really paralyzed if they have to leave.”

Chemotherapy is available on-island and efforts are underway to restore the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute as well as rebuild a cancer patient registry that will give Cancer Support VI critical data to identify other patient needs throughout the territory.

In the meantime, the organization also is working to build partnerships on St. John and St. Croix, build its volunteer base and continue its outreach, Michaud said.

“And with our fundraising, we’re shooting for the moon,” she added. CSVI is a sponsored fund of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands

The community is invited to support Pinktober and Cancer Support VI at the following COVID-safe events:
– Saturday, Oct. 9: Rock Life’s Pizza Party at Rock Life Crossfit, beginning at 5 p.m.
– Saturday, Oct 23rd: Rock Life WOD Event with Paradise Bistro Bar at 5 p.m.
– Sunday, Oct. 17: Cycle 4 Cancer at Sweet Fit VI, beginning at 3 p.m.
– Wednesday, Oct. 27th: Cycling with Willa at Jackson Fitness Center at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
– Friday, Oct. 29: Pumpkin Carving at Lattes in Paradise
– Saturday, Oct. 30: USPS Pinktober Day, all day
– Saturday, Oct. 30: PINK Run at Rock Life Crossfit beginning at 6 am

More details are on the organization’s website. Donations to the campaign can be made here.

10 for Ten donors are:
Bill and Annie Hostetler
Keswick Insurance
Lucky Jewelers
The Market
Marshall and Sterling
Theodore Tunick & Company
Semper Valens Solutions
St. Croix Cancer Specialists
The Westin St. John

Rallied together by St. Thomas Realtor Sharon Hupprich, the last set of 10 for Ten businesses, with gifts of $1,000 each are: Sharon Hupprich at Calypso Realty; Kerstin McConnell and Nick Vanassache at Sea Glass Properties; Denise Fraguela at Denise Fraguela Real Estate; Cathy Clements at Rockstar VI; Lisa Curreri, Mucki Wesley and Rosie Nichols at Curreri Real Estate; Jeyan Stout at Coldwell Banker Stout Realty; April Newland and Scott Newland, at Newland Real Estate; Warren Stryker at Stryker Real Estate; Suzanne Mabe and Anna Adair at Suzanne Mabe Real Estate; Paula Lorentzen at John Foster Real Estate; and Marilyn Blackhall at Blackhall & Co. Real Estate.

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