Maine Children's Cancer Program
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it is the realization of a parent's worst fear. Cancer is in a very real sense a family disease, and families dealing with cancer need the best possible care. The patient needs state-of-the-art treatment, based upon up-to-the-minute clinical research. The family needs support services to help its members cope and live their lives as normally and happily as possible. The Maine Children's Cancer Program (MCCP) was created to provide these comprehensive medical and psychological services to Maine's children with cancer and their families. The program is based in Scarborough, but serves infants, children, and adolescents from across the state. MCCP is the only comprehensive cancer treatment program for children in Maine. A subsidiary of Maine Medical Center, the program is linked to research centers throughout the country and beyond, to provide children with treatments here in Maine. Because of this, there is rarely a need to send the children and families elsewhere for treatment. Because Elks Care and Elks Share, the Maine Elks Association adopted the program as a major project in 1985, and since that time, the association has donated over $1 million dollars to the program. All monies raised for MCCP stays here in Maine, for Maine kids with cancer. Thanks in part to the efforts of the Maine Elks Association and Subordinate Lodges, 70% of children in the MCCP Program are cured of cancer. However, there is still much work left to be done. The MCCP program currently averages 65-70 new children diagnosed with cancer each year, and now has a total of 180 active patients at the clinic receiving regular treatment. Since its inception, the program has treated over 800 children here in Maine. Unfortunately, due to the unpredictability of childhood cancer, the program sadly loses 10 to 15 children per year. The goal of the Maine Elks Association and the Maine Children's Cancer Program is to bring that number down to zero. To help make this happen MCCP will require a substantial amount of funding. To assist MCCP in their efforts, the Maine Elks Association's MCCP Committee works tirelessly throughout the year to raise the money needed. Last year, the combined efforts of the committee, including the association and the subordinate Lodges raised a total of $171,000 for the program. To reach this amount, the MCCP Committee has several programs in place. These are: The $100,000 Club, Private Sector Committee, Elliott and Friends Program, MCCP Golf Tournament and the $100,000 Club (Maine Elks Association Major Project Endowment Fund) The Maine Elks Association Hundred Thousand Dollar Club concept was introduced by Past President Anthony G. Vafiades, who believed that the state association could establish an endowment fund to help suport the Maine Elks major projects and charitable endeavors. The idea was to raise $100,000 dollars, after which only the interest earned could be used to support major projects of the association, and its charitable endeavors. The use of the fund is under the direction of the Officers, Trustees, and Members of the Maine Elks Association. Currently, the Maine Children's Cancer Program is the main beneficiary of the fund. The $100,000 Club Director is responsible for bringing in additional money that will allow the endowment to grow beyond the original $100,000 goal. The Private Sector Committee:The purpose of the Private Sector Committee is to raise funds for the Maine Children's Cancer Program through fundraisers and donations from outside sources, beyond the Elks. The Director is responsible for contacting outside resources to obtain donations and other contributions for the MCCP program. The money raised from this program is donated to the MCCP Program through the Maine Elks Association. Elliott and Friends: "Elliott the Elk" is the Maine Elks Association Mascot, and is a friend to everyone, but especially children who have cancer. The Elliott and Friends Program consists of cards, which can be purchased for $1 each, made available at each Lodge and local businesses throughout Maine. Money raised through this program is donated to the MCCP Program through the Maine Elks Association. MCCP Golf Tournament Rick Drouin MCCP Golf Tournament Director (Sanford Elks #1470) The Annual MCCP Golf Tournament was established in 1993, and has been run each year by the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470. The Lodge has a committee of 50 members who work throughout the year to raise money for children with Cancer. The Tournament is held in September, and combined with the committee's other fundraisers, annually raises in excess of $80,000 for MCCP. According to Rick Drouin, Chairman of the event, the tournament has become so popular, that a limit needed to have been placed on the number of golfers. The main reason the participants come back each year, he said, is to help kids with cancer. He recalled the early days of the event, where a young girl named "Jessica Dion," had been diagnosed with cancer, and was being treated in the Maine Children's Cancer program. Jessica, the daughter of Jim Dion, Superintendent of the Greens at the Sanford Country Club, had regularly attended the tournament, taking pictures, and keeping everyone smiling throughout the event. She had finally completed her treatments through the Maine Children's Cancer Program, and was cured of cancer. Unfortunately, the treatments had left her immune system so depleted, that she contracted a virus, and died at the age of thirteen. Since that time, a memorial had been built, and was placed near the 13th tee. Her engraved image resides on a marker, along with a tablet that includes a poem written by her brother Joshua. Each year, the tournament workers and golfers hold a brief service at the memorial, in memory of Jessica.
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