A local group aims to be an advocate and a friend for people in the North Country that are affected by cancer. The North Country Cancer Fund wants to get the message out there to people in Essex, Clinton and St. Lawrence counties that they are here to help.
PLATTSBURGH — A local group aims to be an advocate and a friend for people in the North Country that are affected by cancer. The North Country Cancer Fund wants to get the message out there to people in Essex, Clinton and St. Lawrence counties that they are here to help.
“We haven’t turned down anyone who has asked for help,” said North Country Cancer Fund (NCCF) founder Thomas Douglas. “We have had times where we couldn’t give people all the money they requested but they can reapply after.”
It is the mission of the NCCF to raise money and supply financial assistance to families in the three counties who have a family member afflicted with cancer.
Douglas started the fund with Rodney Provost in 2007. Joining the team has been Dawn Morrow, and Douglas’ wife Barbara Douglas. Since the formation of the NCCF the organization has grown to include many people actively trying to help their neighbors. Douglas said together he and Provost saw a need for direct support for North Country cancer patients, survivors and family members.
“My husband and I became involved in different cancer fund raisers and we saw that the money we raised here didn’t all stay here so he wanted to do something just for our community members,” said Barbara. “We decided to start this fund for everybody and when someone needs it we give them what we can from our pot.”
The NCCF also offers funding to cancer patients in the three counties while they undergo treatment.
“We offer money for non-medical costs associated with treatment like travel and food and anything they might need, we’ve even helped someone make their mortgage payments while their young son went through treatment,” Thomas said. “Anyone going through cancer has a hard time paying their bills.”
The fund began in 2008 with a golf tournament in Rouses Point and since its creation Douglas said they have given out more than $130,000 to locals raised through various fund raisers. The golf tournament remains the largest fund raising event, a golf tournament at the North Country Golf Course, Hayford Road, in Rouses Point June 28. Douglas said the NCCF also holds many fund raisers throughout the year.
The cost of the golf tournament will be $70 for nonmembers and $50 for members of the course. At the event there will be raffles and prizes for the top three winners.
The Douglas family became personally acquainted with the fight against cancer when Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. Barbara fought the disease through chemotherapy and was told by her doctors she was in remission. In 2007 while going back for an additional screening it was discovered the cancer had returned. This time, Barbara came out strong once again and has been cleared her past screenings.
Barbara underwent treatment at the Fletcher Allen Breast Care Center in Vermont and continues to go back twice a year to make sure the illness does not return.
“I had good health insurance but we made friends while she went through treatment who didn’t have health insurance or good health insurance and their bills kept piling up,” Barbara said.
Barbara said that since her husband began the fund he has dedicated all of his efforts to helping people.
“This has become a full-time job for him he is constantly working on this, it’s a tremendous effort,” Barbara said. “We also have some great businesses in the area who support us and our fund raisers.”
For more information about how to help the NCCF or to apply for assistance visit the NCCF website at NorthCountryCancerFund.Co or visit their Facebook page.