By Patty Hutchens
Our lives have changed dramatically in the last several months; people are staying home more, others have lost their jobs, and kids have had to go about a whole new way of learning. While we have had to adapt to a whole new way of living, those who have cancer are faced with the worry of COVID-19 and much more. For many years, two local organizations have helped those who have battled cancer and other life threatening illnesses.
Celebrate Life is a grassroots organization founded by Jenny Meyer, a Sandpoint woman who lost her battle to cancer in 2008 at the age of 34. Her sister, Julie Walkington, along with countless volunteers, have worked tirelessly over the past 16 years to raise money to benefit individuals and their families in Bonner County affected by cancer.
Celebrate Life supports people with life threatening illnesses in ways many other nonprofits cannot. They are innovative in the manner they provide support in both practical and unique ways. Their funds go to provide vouchers for gas, groceries and even massages, manicures and pedicures. They have provided firewood, house cleaning and airfare to a loved one to see their family member at a time when they need them most. Other ways the organization provides assistance include lodging, medical equipment, family dinners to restaurants, floral arrangements and video cameras to capture memories.
Founded in 2003 by Heather Gibson, who passed away from cancer in 2006 at the age of 47, Community Cancer Services is a place where those diagnosed with cancer can come for financial and emotional support. The nonprofit also provides support services for family members and caregivers of the patient by way of support groups. They too are unique in the way that they can use their funds since they are an independent organization.
In addition to grocery vouchers, gas vouchers, assistance with prescriptions and a lending library of information, there are many other ways the group provides assistance to those whose lives have been turned upside down due to a battle with cancer.
7B Women has made it their mission to support these two entities with the annual Boobs ‘n Beer Fun Run and Oktoberfest, raising $60,000 last year thanks to a matching $30,00 donation by a California-based foundation with ties to Sandpoint. Unfortunately, this year they were unable to hold this festive event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the needs of those who are in the battle of their lives have not disappeared — in fact, in many cases, they have escalated.
In an effort to continue to support Celebrate Life and Community Cancer Services, 7B Women is reaching out to the community to help raise money for these two vital organizations.
“It’s important to us to continue to do what we can for CCS and Celebrate Life in spite of the pandemic,” said 7B Women board member Jill Seetin.
“Many of our longtime supporters have answered the call and donated money this year so that we can support these two nonprofits,” added Kim Diercks, president of the 7B Women board. “We are so grateful and will divide the funds received equally between the two groups as we have in the past.”
Among those who have already donated are Mountain West Bank ($2,000), Columbia Bank ($1,500), Bonner General Health and North Idaho Flood and Fire ($1,000 each). Also donating are Alliant Insurance (formerly Pend Oreille Insurance), Applegate Healthcare — Tabitha Barron and Tork Electric ($500 each).
7B Women knows it is a difficult time financially for many in our community, so they are asking if you are a business or individual who has been blessed to continue to earn money during these difficult times, consider donating to 7B Women so that the organization may help Community Cancer Services and Celebrate Life support those in our community who are on a very difficult journey.
Visit 7BWomen.com and follow the link to Boobs ‘n Beer to donate. All of the proceeds will be split evenly between Celebrate Life and Community Cancer Services.
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