MaineGeneral Health’s Lindsey Oliver, center, and Sarah Webster, right, review a list of registrants for Saturday’s upcoming Day of Hope. The women spent part of Wednesday at Kennebec Savings Bank in Waterville handing out information and receiving donations during a pop up event for Day of Hope, a cancer benefit. The women said they count 600 people registered for the Day of Hope. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA — Cancer survivors and their families will gather virtually to share stories and raise money Saturday during the second annual Day of Hope.

The event supports MaineGeneral’s Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.

Though the Day of Hope is fairly new, it combines two of the facility’s largest annual events — Cancer Survivors Day and the Walk for Hope — into one.

Cancer Survivors Day took place for more than 20 years, celebrating current and past cancer patients, while the fundraising-focused Walk for Hope took place for more than 17 years.

MaineGeneral spokesperson Joy McKenna said community feedback inspired the decision to combine events.

“We heard from our walkers, for example, that they wished the morning could last longer,” she said. “Now walkers have the opportunity to join in the fun, education, hope and healing that Cancer Survivors Day participants are familiar with.

“Our cancer patients and survivors get the added experience of seeing community members come together to support them and preserve our local cancer care,” McKenna added. “The connection between the two, sometimes separate, audiences really adds value to our community.”

Like last year’s Day of Hope, Saturday’s event will also take place virtually.

“We had hoped to have been able to hold our event in person this year, and began planning that way, but we didn’t want to hold the event in person once we saw the impact of the delta variant and rise in COVID-19 case numbers in the state,” she said.

In addition to a virtual ceremony, participants will also be able to walk in their neighborhoods or on a nearby trail to honor people in their lives impacted by cancer. In the days leading up to the event, MaineGeneral has worked with sponsors to create “pop-up” events surrounding communities. People can attend these events to pick up educational packets for kids, pick up a walker bib to honor someone while walking, sign the hospital’s Hope Wall, drop off donations, or get a picture taken in a “Day of Hope” photo frame.

Pop-up events have and will take place all week, leading up to Saturday. On Thursday, an event is planned from 2-6 p.m. at Charlie’s Jeep & Nissan Dealership at 465 Western Ave. in Augusta. Another is planned Friday from 1-6 p.m. at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care at 361 Old Belgrade Road in Augusta.

So far, $138,500 has been raised toward the $150,000 goal to help the cancer center.

Funding will address patient needs such as food insecurity and transportation assistance, patient navigation with financial services, expanding patient access through partnerships with Redington-Fairview General Hospital and Franklin Memorial Hospital, expanding MaineGeneral’s open access clinic and allowing same-day access for urgent care. The funding will also go toward equipment and technology upgrades as well as expanding access to telehealth services.

Last year, 20 sponsors and more than 400 registered walkers raised $136,285. McKenna said this funding supports expansion of the open access clinic, as well as patient needs such as food insecurities and transportation.

Registration can be done by visiting give.mainegeneral.org/hope or calling (207) 626-1809. A donation of at least $10 is encouraged for patient programs. Registration for cancer survivors and fighters, as well as children under 12, is free.

Donations can also be made online via the Day of Hope link on the mainegeneral.org website.

Those who register will be able to view a livestream and hear stories from two women — Caroline Hendrickson, who will share how the news of her father’s cancer diagnosis forced her to grow up quickly, and Janelynn Deprey, a MaineGeneral nurse who recently became director of the emergency departments in Waterville and Augusta. Deprey, a mother of three, was diagnosed with cancer halfway through her third pregnancy.

Both Hendrickson and Deprey will share how they found hope amid unbelievable hardships.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our community,” said McKenna. “We’ve all been touched by cancer in some way and we know the importance of having high-quality cancer care close to home. We very much look forward to being able to have this event in person next year, and while we cannot be in person this year, we hope that people will still support our cancer patients and the services provided by the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.”


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