MACHAIS — Healthy Acadia invites the community to a Buoy Up to Cancer “Tree of Hope” ceremony on Saturday, June 4 at 10 a.m. at the Machias public boat landing, adjacent to Helen’s Restaurant on U.S. 1. The event marks the end of a six-month awareness-building and fundraising campaign to honor and remember loved ones, patients, caregivers, family, and friends whose lives have been touched by cancer, and to support the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program.
The Buoy Up to Cancer campaign kicked off in early December. Throughout the months since, community members have been participating by dedicating buoys in honor or memory of individuals impacted by cancer, or in honor of local healthcare heroes. To ensure that everyone can participate, each buoy dedication is free. Community members are encouraged to sponsor their buoy(s), donate to sponsor a buoy(s) on behalf of someone else, with a minimum suggested donation of $20 per buoy, and/or champion a cancer patient to receive Cancer Patient Navigation services at the suggested donation amount of $400 (the equivalent of a day of patient navigation services). The campaign’s central goal is to bring the community together around the challenges of cancer, and to “Buoy Up to Cancer” together. Financial contributions are gratefully accepted to ensure continuing access to cancer support services for the region.
The Tree of Hope ceremony will bring the Downeast Maine cancer community together in strength, hope, and resilience. Buoys, each hand painted with the names of family, friends, neighbors, and care providers and with associated cancer awareness colors, will be displayed as part of a colorful, “Tree of Hope”, sponsored by Hammond Lumber’s Machias branch, to help uplift and bring light to the effects of cancer in the region, as well as to available resources. The Tree of Hope ceremony will last for approximately half an hour. A rain date is scheduled for June 11, also at 10 a.m.
“Cancer is known for taking lives and putting people through their worst,” said Angela Fochesato, patient navigator for the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program, “Buoy Up To Cancer offers a space to validate and respect their struggles, to support them and honor them; to give them hope. While Washington County has the highest rates in the state of many kinds of cancer, our community is stronger than cancer.”
Fochesato noted that in the fisheries community, buoys serve as identification. For example, each lobsterman or woman paints their marker buoys in their own, unique color or color combination so they know which submerged traps are theirs. Similarly in this campaign, each lighted buoy will be painted in the color corresponding to a specific cancer type – i.e, pink, for breast cancer, etc. – of those to whom they are dedicated to express the belief that they and their communities will not only survive their experiences, but also thrive.
All proceeds from the Buoy Up to Cancer campaign benefit the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program, a program of Healthy Acadia and the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center. Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program Patient Navigators work one-on-one with patients who are facing a cancer diagnosis, helping them to navigate the healthcare and social service systems and community resources in order to access appropriate diagnostic, treatment, support and financial services.
To dedicate a buoy in honor or memory of an individual, or in honor of local healthcare heroes, please visit bit.ly/BuoyDedication. Buoy dedications will be accepted through May 30. To make a contribution in support of the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program, visit bit.ly/SupportCPN.
Healthy Acadia and the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center launched the Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation Program in 2017 as a resource for community members across the continuum of care, including through coordination of cancer prevention efforts, early detection, and treatment. These services are offered at no cost, thanks to generous support from the Maine Cancer Foundation, as well as other donations. For more information about this work, or to access patient navigation services, visit www.healthyacadia.org/ha-decpn or contact Angela Fochesato at Angela@healthyacadia.org, or 207-255-3741 Ext. 103.
Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at www.healthyacadia.org.