DragonHeart Vermont awarded $33,738.70 to the Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) Emergency Fund. For the 2nd consecutive year CPSF has been honored to be the pledge partner for the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival. CPSF would like to thank DragonHeart Vermont, the sponsors, paddlers, and volunteers who make this annual event such a success.
Each year hundreds of rural Vermont cancer patients struggle with the cost of transportation to access life-saving treatment. This year, with the rising cost of gas, many Vermonters delayed treatment simply due to their inability to afford the transportation to get to the hospital. For the 2nd year, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union (NCFCU) stepped in to address this rising issue. In 2021, NCFCU and the Cancer Patient Support Foundation partnered to create the NorthCountry Federal Credit Union Rural
Transportation Fund. This year NCFCU awarded $15,000, double their donation from 2021, to support rural Vermont cancer patients.
“Part of bettering our communities is bettering the lives of those who live within them,” says Kathryn Lagerstedt, Senior Vice President of Strategic Engagement at NorthCountry Federal Credit Union. “This donation is an extension of the notion that no one fights alone, and we hope this fund can offer some relief to patients during a difficult time.
“The most heartbreaking stories that I hear are patients saying they delayed treatment because the cost of traveling back and forth to the hospital was too great,” according to Sarah Lemnah, Executive Director of CPSF. “Vermont patients are deciding everyday if they should fill up their tank to drive to treatment or take care of their family’s basic needs like food, rent, and utilities. The NorthCountry Federal Credit Union Rural Transportation Fund allows CPSF to better support rural Vermonters, so transportation is not a hurdle for treatment.”
CPSF supports over 500 local cancer patients each year, removing barriers to treatment and helping them meet their basic needs. For 20 years, CPSF has been the only local statewide fund supporting patients and their families. Nearly 11,000 families have received over $2.8 million since the organization’s inception.
he paddles are put away, the tents have gone back into storage, and paddlers have earned a well-deserved rest, but the spirit of the dragon lives on even after the successful completion of the 16th annual Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival.
Sunday, August 7 saw a flurry of activity down at the waterfront. 1,828 participants (including 41 teams paddling) and donors worked together to make the fundraising festival a success. The top fundraising team was Kim’s One Boob Crew–a new community team led by Kim who is recovering from a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Sweet Charity, and Tachy for Ta-Tas also fell in the top three fundraisers. Donations continue to come in in support of this year’s partner, the Cancer Patient Support Foundation.
A highlight of the day was the traditional breast cancer survivor flower ceremony where the breast cancer survivor teams tethered their boats in a flotilla formation, listened to Bonnie Jean Aharonian sing a song written by a daughter of a Dragonheart Vermont member and breast cancer survivor, and paying homage to those diagnosed with breast cancer with sunflowers donated by the Last Resort farm.
Thoughts from Nina Atkinson, Executive Director of DragonHeart Vermont reflect the success of the event. “It was a great day for Vermont's cancer patients. We have missed being here after sheltering from COVID, so this is a special year for us. The weather was hot, but the sun was out and we saw huge smiles both on and off the water. With your help, we at Dragonheart Vermont support breast cancer survivors and cancer survivors. This year, the Cancer Patient Support Foundation shares your pledges, so that they can help Vermont families impacted from cancer. Thank you to all who came out today to have fun for such a great cause.”
The 16th annual Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival will take place Sunday, August 7 at the
Burlington waterfront. The annual festival is a favorite in the area made popular by the energy
of community teams who eagerly paddle in 20-person dragon boats to raise money to support
cancer survivors. Despite the pandemic, this year’s festival promises to entertain and engage
paddlers and spectators alike with some of the high-energy entertainment like Zumba for
paddler warm-up and fast-paced paddling and splashing on the water. There will be musical
entertainment Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, along with savory treats from favorite food
trucks. And, most importantly, each team will participate in at least two 200 m races between
Splash and the Coastguard station, cheered on by the amazing energy of community fans.
Presented by Community Bank N.A., Dragonheart Vermont, the dragon boat organization that
hosts the annual event, seeks to raise money to support Vermont’s cancer survivors. This year,
the festival’s fundraising successes are shared with another local cancer organization, (the
Festival “Pledge Partner”), The Cancer Patient Support Foundation. CPSF’s work supports
Vermont cancer patients and their families so “all who face cancer can do so with dignity,
confidence and serenity.” Funds for Dragonheart Vermont support wellness and fitness
programs for breast cancer survivors and supporters.
Since its inception in 2005, the festival has been able to gift over $1million to organizations in the
community that support cancer patients. These include but are not limited to Camp Ta Kum Ta,
the McClure Miller Respite House, Integrative Therapies at the UVMMC Cancer Center, and, most
recently, the Cancer Patient Support Foundation.
Although all the participants enjoy the paddling, the highlight of the festival is the mid-day Flower
Ceremony. This breathtaking memorial has Breast cancer survivors teams paddle into a flotilla
formation, where founder, Linda Dyer, shares a few words, and survivor, Bonnie-Jean Arahonian
sings a specially-selected song. Paddlers from the water, joined by cancer survivors from the docks,
then offer a flower to Lake Champlain in honor of their loved ones.
The Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival began 16 years ago thanks to the dedication and hard
work of Dragonheart founders Linda Dyer, a breast cancer survivor, and her husband John Dyer.
Convinced of the research that linked dragon boating to breast cancer recovery at a time when many
doctors advocated rest, John and Linda began a breast cancer survivor and supporter team in 2006.
Seeing the need to sustain and grow the team as well as to support the community, Linda, John, and
a fearsome group of volunteers launched the first festival with 56 teams. Sixteen years later, it
celebrates its success with the community that gives so much to support it and make sure it can
happen each year.
As the community emerges from a worldwide pandemic, Dragonheart is especially grateful to have
such dedicated supporters who are willing to paddle, cheer and participate in so many ways to make
our community stronger.
CPSF is proud to be a beacon of hope for cancer patients throughout Vermont and to recognize the more than 500 families served during our 20th anniversary year. This past year we were honored to be chosen as the beneficiary for several amazing fundraising events: Dragonheart Vermont’s annual Dragon Boat Festival, 5th annual Golfing4Life tournament, Awesome Open, the Get Your Rear In Gear virtual 5K, and Vergennes Day Race. We formed a partnership with North Country Federal Credit Union to create a rural transportation fund for patients, knowing that traveling long distances for treatment can be expensive. Through these events and the valued support of our community, we continued to assist Vermont cancer patients at a time when hospitals and other community partners were stretched thin. Click here to see the 2021 Annual Report.
Nearly $50,000 was raised at the Cancer Patient Support Foundation's 20th Anniversary Celebration. Since its inception CPSF has supported over 10,800 families awarding over $2,840,000. Tim Kavanagh, a long-time supporter of CPSF and an advocate for cancer patients, was awarded the 1st every CPSF Daisy Award. A new Emergency Fund, the Pomerleau Fund, was announced at the celebration ensuring that more Vermont cancer patients can be supported during their treatment.
For more information about the celebration, go to 20th Anniversary Celebration - Cancer Patient Support Foundation (cpsfvt.org).
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) has been helping Vermont cancer patients and their families for 20 years. CPSF helps local cancer patients access treatment and supports their families' basic needs during the most challenging time. For many patients, just the cost of filling their gas tank to get to treatment can be a barrier. CPSF has launched the "Show Some Love at the Pump" campaign encouraging people to donate a tank of gas to a patient in need. When you fill up your tank, donate what you paid so a local patient can drive to treatment. Transportation accounts for a third of the CPSF Emergency Fund that has awarded $2,840,000 since CPSF's inception. Each year nearly $160,000 is awarded to over five hundred local families.
CPSF will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary Celebration on May 12th from 5-9pm at the Barn at Lang Farm in Essex Jct. Innovative chefs including Chef Adam Monette, 2021 Winner of the Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship, Chef Shawn Calley, Executive Chef of the Burlington Country Club, Chef Christian Kruse, Executive Chef of Black Flannel Brewing, and Chef Michael Clauss, Executive Chef of City Market will be serving delicious bites. Enjoy an evening of food, drinks, music, and an exciting auction including tickets to a VIP brunch with Chef Kevin Des Chenes and Michelin star Chef Michael Solomonov at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport, RI; tickets to the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival; a stay in Hilton Head, a Sunset Cruise for six on Lake Champlain and so much more. Tickets are $60 and are available at 20th Anniversary Celebration - Cancer Patient Support Foundation (cpsfvt.org)
With the rising costs of gas, food, and basic goods local cancer patients are struggling to get to treatment and to take care of their families. As Sarah Lemnah, CPSF Executive Director, explains "it is heartbreaking to hear Vermont cancer patients delaying treatment simply due to the inability to afford the cost of gas or to worry about how to feed their children." CPSF is dedicated to supporting local patients access treatment and support their families.
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) is an independent nonprofit organization which supports Vermont cancer patients and their families in a time of extraordinary need, by providing financial assistance, underwriting counseling services, and acting as a resource during diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
Over the last 20 years the Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) has supported over 10,000 local cancer patients and their families. Each year CPSF supports over five hundred local families; enabling them to take care of their families and removing barriers to treatment.
In 2021 CPSF supported 525 local patients, awarding over $155,000. Though patients have many needs the biggest one continues to be transportation. Over $46,000 (30% of the total amount awarded) went to help patients with their transportation costs to get to treatment. Other common needs were help with rent and mortgage which accounts for 16% of the CPSF Emergency Fund, utilities make up 16%, and medical costs account for 8%. Other needs include assistance with food, childcare, and prescriptions. Patients range in age from 23-92 years old, with the majority between 50-69. Patients reside throughout Vermont, in every county. However, Chittenden, Franklin, and Washington counties account for most of our patients. Those three counties combined make up 63% of patients served.
The CPSF Emergency Fund provides financial support and hope. As one patient wrote, “I received the check your Foundation sent to me, and I want to sincerely thank you for your kindness and consideration. At a time when only bad news seems to be prevalent it has been so refreshing to meet so many wonderful people in every aspect of this trying time. There is a silver- lining in every situation and what I found was this world has a lot of great, caring people in it. Thank you for being one of those great people!”
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation is a proud member of Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer (VTAAC). We are excited to be part of the planning committee for the VTAAC Annual Cancer Summit! For the 2022 Summit, VTAAC will be hosting a sequence of three abbreviated virtual sessions focusing on health equity and cancer care in Vermont, framed around the new 2025 Vermont Cancer Plan. This virtual summit series is free for all attendees and will be a great opportunity to learn about work happening throughout the state and build valuable partnerships through discussion-based sessions.
Click here to find out more and register for each of the sessions.
The 40th Annual Vergennes Day Race will benefit Vermont cancer patients. Patients often must make difficult choices between treating their cancer or taking care of their families’ basic needs. The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) does not believe that patients should have to make those choices, its Emergency Fund provides financial support for Vermont cancer patients and their families.
This year the 40th Annual Vergennes Day Race will benefit the Cancer Patient Support Foundation. Organizer Scott Gaines explained that many members of the planning committee had been directly impacted by cancer. “When we first met to talk about this year’s race, we were very involved with one of our committee members whose wife was struggling with cancer, and many other members had lost family to cancer. One committee member’s family had received support from CPSF and expressed tremendous gratitude toward the program.” For Gaines and the committee, the choice of CPSF was a perfect fit giving them “a chance to help those suffering with cancer. Our group is part of what we call the Little City with a Big Heart, the City of Vergennes.” This year’s race will have lots of heart helping local cancer patients in treatment.
The Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPSF) has been providing financial support to Vermont cancer patients and their families for over 20 years. According to Sarah Lemnah, Executive Direct of CPSF “many Vermonters delay treatment simply due to the transportation costs. A tank of gas should not be a factor in a person's cancer treatment. The support from the Vergennes Day Race will allow more Vermont cancer patients to have access to treatment while taking care of their families.” For more information about the Cancer Patient Support Foundation go to www.cpsfvt.org.
The 40th Annual Vergennes Day Race will feature a 5K, 10K, and 15K run, and 5K walk, through the Little City Streets, out into the countryside and back. This year there will be an in-person race on August 28th, or you can participate virtually from August 1-27th. For more information or to register go to 40th Annual Vergennes Day Race 2021 (runsignup.com).
About Vergennes Day
The Annual Vergennes Day celebration is hosted by the City of Vergennes. This year features live music, pancake breakfast, craft fair, horse drawn wagon rides, chicken BBQ, rubber duckie race, and more. See the full schedule: Vergennes Day - Addison County Chamber of Commerce, VT