Tennis players raise funds for cancer research

Posted July 02, 2010, at 7:21 p.m.

When it comes to helping others, especially those with cancer, inspiration comes in many forms and, for Martha Doyon of Hampden, from many people, organizations and businesses.

In June, Doyon successfully hosted an indoor tennis tournament at Bangor Tennis in Hampden that raised $10,000 for CancerCare of Maine and Champion the Cure for the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer.

And while she basically did it on her own, it was the inspiration, contribution and participation of others that made this fundraiser a success.

Speaking for CancerCare of Maine, Allen L’Italien said, “This is just an example of how really amazing an impact just one individual can have and really, truly make a difference for many people in our area.

“Giving $10,000 is not small change,” he said, adding that this donation was “not money being raised for the building, but for the programs” the facility offers.

Such contributions will help make the facility, “a center of excellence,” he said, “where everything is for the patient.”

Doyon, understandably, is reluctant to take all the credit for this fundraiser, preferring to highlight how everything came together with the inspiration and help of others.

After participating in an Ellsworth tournament that raised a similar amount for a worthy cause, Doyon read an article about the work of the Lafayette Family Cancer Center and realized that although her sister, Jackie Rawcliffe of Hampden, is the CFO for Lafayette Hotels, Doyon really didn’t know anything about the family’s connection to CancerCare of Maine.

Once she learned more, especially about funding for cancer prevention and clinical trials taking place at the facility, Doyon began thinking “about what we could do to help.”

Her father died of cancer 15 years ago, she said, and when she learned “what the Lafayettes were doing to help those with cancer, I was really shocked that all this research was going on right here in Brewer.

“It is quite inspiring,” she said.

Doyon was inspired not only by the commitment of the Lafayette family but also by the results of that Ellsworth tennis fundraiser and the grace and fortitude of two special people who stepped forward to help with her fundraiser.

Dean Armstrong, general manager of Bangor Tennis, is a two-time cancer survivor, she said.

He not only “gave us the facility for the entire day,” but he also participated in the tournament.

And then there is Terry Toole, a Bangor Tennis employee “that everyone loves,” Doyon said, who also helped out that day even though he is currently receiving treatment for cancer.

“He was there, telling us where to go and what to do. It was great. We were just so happy he was able to be with us.”

Doyon especially thanks the sponsors who made the eight-team tournament possible: Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., Brookings-Smith Funeral Homes, Dunkin’ Donuts, Extreme Dimension Wildlife Calls, Green Point Auto Parts, Rawcliffe’s Garage, R H Foster, Webb’s RV and Wells Fargo.

Lunch was provided by Dan Tremble of Fairmount Market in Bangor, and players also took part in a silent auction to put the fundraising goal over the top.

Doyon began her fundraising in September and completed it in April.

“It was a lot of legwork, but it was kind of nice,” she said.

“I just plugged away at it” and, in the end it was worth the effort.

“It was awesome. Everyone was thrilled,” she said.

Doyon said she was especially pleased “Dean and Terry were able to take part,” but equally pleased that so many people made it possible for a group of tennis players to compete in their own “rally for a cure.”

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Here we are in the middle of the real kickoff of the summer season: the Fourth of July weekend which, for many of us, is extended because the Fourth falls on a Sunday and Monday becomes a day off.

Unfortunately, a three-day weekend often leads to more accidents and a greater need for the assistance of our emergency responders and medical personnel.

We should all do our part not to put one another in harm’s way by being law-abiding, responsible citizens and watchful parents and guardians.

While the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our country’s independence, it is also a time to remember and salute those who are serving our country, working to help others know and appreciate the freedoms we hold so dear.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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