The nonprofit helps cancer patients in the region who need the one-on-one services provided by Cancer Navigators, helping them navigate their journey from diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship and connecting them to needed resources.
Soon teams from Harbin Clinic, Floyd Medical Center and Redmond Regional Medical Center as well as numerous community teams will be selling everything from T-shirts to cupcakes and will have all kinds of events planned. Some have already have picked their team names and themes and are planning how they will decorate their team boat paddles for the finale celebration on April 7.
More teams are needed to make the event a success, said Charlotte Atkins, executive director for Cancer Navigators. A drop-in team signup is schedule Tuesday 5-7 p.m. at Cancer Navigators, 310 W. 10th St. in Rome, located behind Honeybaked Hams. Team captains or those interested in forming teams are invited to drop by to get information or to sign up.
“If you want to have direct impact on people’s lives who are on a challenging cancer journey, this is a way to do that,” she said. “We invite local churches, businesses, garden clubs, neighbors, friends, schools, book clubs or whoever to put together a group of 10-15 people and have a team.”
The registration fee is $100 per team and the goal is for each team to raise at least $1,000. So if 10 people each pay $10 toward the registration fee, they each only need to raise $90 to make that goal happen. The more team members, the more fundraising potential a team has. The more teams involved, the more potential the whole event has to raise needed funds.
Each team gets 10 event T-shirts and a team paddle to decorate. This year’s T-shirt design is based on a painting that local popular folk artist Ken “Blacktop” Gentle created for Cancer Navigators.
“This is a really cool design that Blacktop painted for us and then Heather Koon, who designs Magnolia magazine and is news editor for the Rome News-Tribune, added some graphic elements to create a T-shirt design we think folks are really going to enjoy,” said Atkins. The shirts will be for sale by Cancer Navigators and many of the teams by mid-February.
The wooden oars given to teams are symbolic of the journey cancer patients are on and the navigation assistance they get from nurses and social workers at Cancer Navigators. Many teams paint their paddles with poignant messages. Some memorialize co-workers and loved ones who have battled cancer. Others have been crafted into bird houses, guitars or river boats. They can be as simple or as ornate as teams wish. At the April 7 celebration, awards will be given for Best Decorated Oar, Most Money Raised and Most Spirit. That event will include a public walk along the riverfront and the annual flower drop into the river to honor those who have battled cancer.
Team members are welcome to come by Cancer Navigators 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to view paddles from previous events to get decorating ideas or inspiration.
Cancer Navigators is still looking for corporate sponsors for Cast Off Against Cancer. “This is a high visibility event and thousands of these T-shirts as well as signage are going to be seen and worn all over town. If you are a business who wants to be seen making a difference in cancer patients’ lives and keeping your business dollars working in the local community, this a good event on which to partner with us,” said Atkins. She can be contacted at 706-295-4119 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“The main thing we want people to know is that we are a local nonprofit that makes a big difference in the lives of cancer patients here and that we are 100 percent supported by community donations. The money raised from Cast Off Against Cancer gives us a foundation for the year to ensure that we are able to carry out this vital mission of helping cancer patients navigate their medical treatments and all of the other challenges cancer brings with it. We hope the community will step up and help us make this year’s event the most successful ever, by having teams, supporting teams and through sponsorship. So please join us as we Cast Off Against Cancer.”
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