BUCKSPORT, Maine — Barbara Vittum was in the midst of a difficult battle with breast cancer years back when she made a promise to God that, if her health returned, she would start a support program for others with cancer.
Vittum’s experience and subsequent help from others gave rise to the Cancer Support Center of Maine. Now in its third year, the Bucksport-based nonprofit provides free support and outreach programs to cancer patients and their families as well as outreach and awareness programs about cancer for the public.
On Saturday, April 28, the Peakes Hill Lodge in Dedham will hold a dance and concert to benefit the Cancer Support Center of Maine. The Real Deal Band will perform at the event, which is slated to run from 7 to 11 p.m. at the lodge on Peakes Hill Road. Tickets are $10.
Vittum said a major part of the center’s work is — just as the name implies — dedicated to helping support cancer patients and families.
The center does this by connecting those in need with other resources, such as agencies that can help provide rides to doctor’s appointments or offer financial assistance to those struggling to get by because of sickness. Sometimes it is just a matter of offering emotional support or practical advice to distressed patients or their families, she said.
The cancer survivor said she realized how critical support was while she was fighting the disease.
“One day my surgeon said, ‘You know, if everyone had the same sort of support that Barb has, they would do much better,’” Vittum said.
The center also aims to increase awareness about cancer and preventive steps through advocacy and educational programs. This is especially important in Maine, Vittum said, given the state’s high cancer rates.
Tickets for Saturday’s dance/concert are available at the door or in advance at Frank’s Bakery, 193 State St. in Bangor. For information on the concert, call the Cancer Support Center of Maine at 207-469-6363 or Elaine Horne at 207-570-7005. For information on the center, go to cancersupportcenterofmaine.org/.