September 21, 2018
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Teen given Sandra C. Lebaree New England Volunteer Values Award

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BREWER, Maine — A local teenager recently was honored by the American Cancer Society’s New England Division.

Jessica Sargent, 14, of Brewer is one of [up to] six Mainers who will receive Sandra C. Lebaree New England Volunteer Values Awards this year. Jessica was nominated by ACS Relay Specialist Mac Watts and Relay For Life of Penobscot Event Lead Karen Girvan.

“Jessica embodies the criteria for the Sandra C. Lebaree New England Volunteer Values Award in so many ways,” says Girvan.” Last year she was our Honorary Chair at age 13 and this year she has joined the Relay Penobscot Event Leadership Team. She has volunteered for Relay For Life for the past seven years as part of The O Team, one of Relay Penobscot’s top ten fundraising teams, and hosts a Hot Cocoa stand with her family outside of their Brewer home every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a new member of the Event Leadership Team she has recruited Machias Savings Bank to sponsor our Relay, and is truly an inspiration to us and her community.”

The award is named after a long time volunteer for the American Cancer Society from Maine who helped found the New England Division Board. Sandra Lebaree demonstrated excellence in behavior that exemplified The American Cancer Society’s values of Mission, Stewardship, Diversity, Data-Driven, and Respect. Lebaree passed away in 2000 from breast cancer, but her spirit lives on in this award and its recipients.

Jessica’s father, Mike Openshaw, was diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine cancer called metastatic pheocromocytoma in 2011, and has been undergoing treatment to extend his life ever since. The family’s involvement in Relay For Life began with Mike’s mother being diagnosed with cancer, which she has been successfully fighting for years now.

Jessica and her sisters were also recognized by the City of Brewer this past year for their Hot Cocoa stand, and were told by one council member, “You have made the City of Brewer look better.”

Relay For Life of Penobscot will be held Friday and Saturday, May 15 & 16 at Morse Field at the University of Maine. For more information about Relay For Life of Penobscot, to find out how to volunteer, sign up, or become a sponsor, please contact Mac Watts at or visit

The world’s largest grassroots fundraising movement, Relay For Life mobilizes communities throughout the country to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and provide participants with an opportunity to fight back against the disease. Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups – people from all walks of life – all aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society’s vision of creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays.