It’s a celebration, not a fundraiser

That was the story line in a recent news release from the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group, which will host an event this month for the pure reason of having a party. Called a Celebration of Survival and Support, the event will be held at the Portuguese American Club on Sunday, March 10. The party begins at 5 p.m. All are welcome; there is no admission fee and no auction.

The cancer support group had its beginnings more than 25 years ago when a group of Vineyard women began attending weekly meetings, calling themselves Bosom Buddies because they had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They found in the meetings strong therapeutic support from sharing experiences and feelings with their peers. Eventually others joined the group, which in 1986 became the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group.

Eight years later the group was incorporated, formed a board of directors and in 1996 began accepting applications for financial assistance, funded by charitable donations.

Since then the group has given grants totaling more than $500,000. More than 500 individuals or Island families have been helped over the years.

Each year, usually in May, the group hosts a fundraiser which brings in the bulk of the money that finds its way back out in grants during the following year. The group has no administrative expenses; all money raised goes back into the community.

In addition to financial assistance, the group has continued the tradition of weekly support meetings for cancer victims, survivors and their family members.

The meetings are held every Wednesday at noon in the library in the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven.

For more information call Leslie J. Stark at 646-242-6744, or Jane Carroll at 617-967-2460.