St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund
For the past four decades members of the community have banded together to raise money for the local fight against cancer with the Edward I. Moses Walk/Run for Life, an annual event held by the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund.
Founded in 1979 and named after Edward I. Moses, the former president of Kinney Drugs, the Walk/Run for Life has raised nearly $1.5 million to date to help support local hospitals that offer cancer treatment services and screenings, organizations that can provide financial assistance for cancer patients, and other local programs that work with community members who encounter cancer.
“He [Edward] died of bone cancer and when we were starting the walk the family wanted to know if we would name it for him, so that’s what we did,” said Norma Jean Coloton, a board member and one of the first members of the SLCCF. “We have seen more and more people at the Walk/Run every year. It’s great when you see new people are interested.”
A total of $70,000 was raised for the 2017 Walk/Run for Life.
Although the Edward I. Moses Walk/Run for Life has existed for many, many years, the SLCCF is fairly new. The group started as just the walk and eventually reorganized into the SLCCF in 2011 to expand their efforts and draw more ongoing support from the community.
“We thought more people might look to us for donations and memorials and it seemed kind of funny to be sending checks to a Walk/Run, so that’s when we incorporated the name change,” Norma Jean said. “We just added the SLCCF so it has more of a meaning for what we do.”
Aside from the Walk/Run for Life, the SLCCF holds various events and fundraisers throughout the year. All money raised by the organization stays in the community and goes towards supporting cancer-related programs at the Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and Massena Memorial Hospital. Funds also support organizations like Ryan's Wish Foundation, the Gouverneur Breast Cancer Fund, Jules of Life and Hospice, as well as St. Lawrence Health Initiative’s Cancer Services Program.
"I think the SLCCF is a necessary program. We are here to help people - our friends and neighbors - at the time they need it most," Norma Jean said. "The money we raise is only going to the people here that need it most."
Although the SLCCF helps the community in a variety of ways, the organization cannot issue individual checks to people in need of financial assistance, but they will offer guidance on other organizations that can.
“The way our bylaws are, we can’t just hand somebody a check, but we will connect them with Ryan’s Wish or another organization so that they can help them,” Norma Jean said.
An organization composed of all volunteers, the SLCCF is willing to help the local fight against cancer in any way possible. More so, members of the group know how it feels when a loved one or close friend is diagnosed with cancer.
“I think everybody has been touched one way or another, whether it’s their family or a close friend,” Norma Jean said. “There’s so many people affected and we just want to help people in any way we can to make their journey a little bit easier.”
To learn more about the programs the SLCCF funds or the Edward I. Moses Walk/Run for Life and other events held by the organization, visit their website to request more information.