A great day: Local cancer support group accepts large donations

·3 min read

The River Valley Cancer Support Group delivers compassion, support and financial help to families dealing with the pain and fear of a cancer diagnosis.

Tuesday, Nov. 2, proved a great day for the group as it accepted significant donations from a pair of long-time supporters.

The River Valley Cancer Support Group members officially accepted a $35,000 donation from the Woodstock Ribfest, following another successful event in July of this year.

The group also visited the Tim Hortons outlet on Connell Street in Woodstock to accept a $7,478 donation courtesy of the restaurant's Smile Cookie campaign. The Connell Street staff chose the River Valley Cancer Support Group as its recipients for funds raised through the sale of the cookies.

A River Valley Support Group member, Heather Hogan, said they are fortunate to enjoy continued support from the Ribfest organizers and Tim Hortons owners and employees, along with other generous contributors across the region.

"People in our community know about our organization and are very generous," said Hogan.

She joined fellow cancer support group members Marilyn Rose, Doug and Sheila Graham and Vera Girvan to accept Tuesday's generous donations.

Ian MacDougall, owner of six Tim Hortons franchises in Woodstock, Hartland, Florenceville-Bristol and Perth-Andover, and Connell Street employee Melissa Hamilton, presented the donation to the group. As part of the Tim Horton national Smile Cookie campaign, each restaurant chooses a local charity to receive funds raised by selling the $1 cookies.

Tim Hortons in Florenceville-Bristol also pledged Smile Cookie funds to the River Valley Cancer Support Group, while Hartland raised funds for the Upper River Valley Hospital Foundation.

Woodstock's Main Street outlet will contribute funds to Prime Time Pals, while Beardsley Road pledged funds to Western Valley Special Olympics.

The Perth-Andover Tim Hortons directed its Smile Cookie funds to the Southern Victoria Cancer Assistance Program.

Ribfest co-chairs Scott Dunlop, Andrew Garnett, and Jeff Bradbury officially presented the donation to the River Valley Cancer Support Group members.

The Woodstock Ribfest organizers have raised thousands of dollars for River Valley and other cancer support organizations since launching the annual Ribfest in 2016.

Over the past two years, COVID-19 restrictions forced Woodstock Ribfest organizers to scale back the large scale event to a drive-thru format, but the community continued to support it.

In addition to presenting $35,000 for the River Valley Cancer Support Group, the 2021 Ribfest will deliver $15,000 to the John T. MacMillan Jr. Memorial Fund and $2,400 to the Living Beyond Cancer Peer Support Group.

Hogan said the success of both the Woodstock Ribfest and the Smile Cookie campaign is a testament to the community participation and generosity of so many caring people in the Upper River Valley.

She said the support group would distribute the funds to people in the River Valley diagnosed with cancer.

"When an individual or family receives a cancer diagnosis, there are so many worries," Hogan said. "It quickly takes over your life so funds that are available from the group can help with lots of issues from gas to groceries and everything in between, but it also lets people know there is a community who cares."

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

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