By Ben Olson
When Cindy Marx heard the dreaded C-word in 2005, she immediately went into action.
“When you hear the word cancer for the first time, you don’t know what it means,” said Marx. “Is it a death sentence? What options do I have?”
Marx began researching her options. She searched in the local phone directory for a community outreach center and had trouble locating it because of a brand misidentification. She talked with doctors and caregivers about options. At times it was overwhelming, but one organization that Marx found that assisted her immensely was Community Cancer Services (CCS).
Established by Heather Gibson in 2003, CCS has grown to become a vital organization aiding cancer patients in the battle for their lives. Gibson, who passed away in 2006 after an eight-year battle with cancer, has infused her vitality and spirit into the program that has aided countless individuals in over a decade of service to the community.
“I knew about Heather’s journey,” said Marx, manager of Pend d’Oreille Winery and vice president of CCS. “I had lunch with her at the end … she was an amazing woman.”
In 2014 alone, CCS provided services to over 165 people in Bonner and Boundary counties. These services include providing gas vouchers to clients to attend their appointments and treatments, medical expenses, grocery expenses, as well as cosmetic assistance with items like wigs, scarves and make-overs to boost morale.
In addition to the services provided, CCS features a licensed social worker on staff to offer free one-on-one counseling to clients and their family members.
“When you’re going through this treatment, it’s so hard to travel outside the area for what you need,” said Marx. “There is still so much you have to do in Coeur d’Alene or Spokane. It adds up.”
In 2014, CCS provided over $80,000 in direct assistance to their cancer patient clients.
“All this money stays in Bonner and Boundary Counties,” added Marx.
To generate these substantial funds, CCS relies on the work of grant writers and bits and pieces of support from other organizations. The most important source of funding, however, is an annual fundraiser called “A Night to Remember.”
“This fundraiser provides half of our annual budget,” said Marx.
“A Night to Remember” takes place Friday, Nov. 6 at Bonner County Fairgrounds. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the fundraiser features a wine tasting, dinner, a live and silent auction, and lots more fun activities.
The Ponderay Rotary Club will partner with CCS to host the fundraiser, and local winemakers such as Pend d’Oreille Winery, Small House Winery, Clearwater Canyon and Coeur d’Alene Cellars will offer their products. The proceeds from this event will benefit Community Cancer Services and Ponderay Rotary’s Scholarship Fund.
A sponsorship of $1200 or more will purchase a table for eight people to the wine tasting and dinner, and also includes a case of commemorative wine from Pend d’Oreille Winery. If you are unable to sponsor, but would still like to attend, individual tickets to the event are $75 each and can be purchased by contacting Stefanie Nostdahl at 208-255-2301. If you are interested in volunteering or donating to the event, write to Cindy Marx at [email protected]
Attend “A Night to Remember” on Friday, Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Bonner County Fairgrounds.
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