Meeting a Need: New board receives funding to assist local cancer patients

Dave Lein, Editor

Photo by Dave Lein

Shown at the recent presentation are (from left): Dan McKinnon (CEO/Bellaire Family Health Center), Paulette Pospech (ACHTBCP treasurer), Bev Dickinson (ACHTBCP board), Dee Lynch (ACHTBCP vice president), Deb Cannella (event co-chair), Coleen Dewy (community health worker/BFHC), Tambra Lockwood (ACHTBCP president), Brenda Muladore (registered X-Ray tech), Suzie Davies (event co-chair), Dennis Skrowcki (CFO/BFHC), and Jill Wolgamott (site director/BFHC).


BELLAIRE – Surprises can be both good and bad. Besides being unexpected, the bad ones usually result in fear and a feeling of despair – much like being diagnosed with cancer. On the other hand, good surprises often yield a positive sense of hope and recovery.

And that’s the two-sided coin a new local group is looking to deposit on the asset side of the ledger.

To clarify, let’s start from the beginning.

In 2004, local women Dee Lynch and Jane Van Etten had an idea, born out of a significant need they had recognized throughout the area – especially in Antrim County. That need was to assist women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but were either uninsured or underinsured. To help raise funds to assist those women, they decided to form an organization and host an annual fundraiser. Thus was the start of Antrim County's High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention.

Since that time, the group has raised thousands of dollars to directly assist hundreds of women.

This past year, the ACHTBCP board recognized another growing need. Much like the situation with breast cancer in 2004, they saw a similar local void with the five other most prominent forms of cancer: lung, pancreatic, cervical, colon, and prostate cancer.

To address the issue, they came up with a familiar plan – host a unique fundraiser. And that’s just what they did on Aug. 6, with a "sock hop" benefit at the scenic home of Jan and Mike McCrackin, located on the shores of Torch Lake in Alden.

That event included food from 22 local restaurants and live entertainment provided by three popular ensembles. It was attended by more than 150 people and raised $10,500.

Next, the question arose of how to best identify those in need and the most effective method to distribute the funds. In response, it was decided to form a separate board under ACHTBCP, which would include representatives from the High Tea group – most of whom are cancer survivors – as well as health care professionals from the Bellaire Family Health Center. The new all-volunteer board would be overseen by ACHTBCP and make formal reports to them at least twice a year.

As the group was recently coming together, it was announced that the board of the Bellaire and East Jordan Family Health Center decided to match the original $10,500 raised from the August event for a total of $21,000.

The presentation was made at a special meeting on Aug. 25, at which time the new board offered its plan for distribution.

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