Alive! With Song, central Vermont's chorus of cancer survivors and caregivers, performing at Do Good Fest

National Life Group's Do Good Fest Raises $15,000 to Support CVMC's Cancer Patient Fund

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2015 by UVM Health Network - CVMC

National Life Group's Do Good Fest, held on Saturday, July 18th was once again a huge success, raising $15,000 for the CVMC Branches of Hope Patient Cancer Fund. All of us at CVMC thank National Life Group for their generous support of our cancer program over the years.

The proceeds came from parking fees at the festival and from a matching grant from the National Life Group Foundation. The festival featured a lively performance by O.A.R., in addition to appearances by The Alternate Routes, Panama Wedding, and Patti Casey & Colin McCaffrey, plus Alive! With Song (shown above), central Vermont's chorus of cancer survivors and caregivers.

(Article below reprinted with permission from The Times-Argus)

Music festival helps cancer patients

By Eric Blaisdell | Times Argus | July 19,2015

Hundreds of people descended on the National Life campus in Montpelier on Saturday for the second annual Do Good Fest, a music festival and fundraiser to help cancer patients pay for their treatment.

The festival was headlined by the popular band O.A.R. following performances by the Alternate Routes, Panama Wedding and local musicians Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey. 

3000 people on the lawn at National Life Group in Montpelier

More than 3,000 people attended Do Good Fest 2015, featured a lively performance by O.A.R.

There were also food vendors like Red Hen Bakery and American Faltbread, and a beer tent. There was also a tent set up for nonprofit groups where festival-goers could learn about organizations like ReSource, Capstone Vermont, Outright Vermont, Puppets in Education and Good Beginnings of Central Vermont.

The festival was free with a parking charge of $10 for early arrivals and $20 for those who came later. All of the money raised goes to Branches of Hope, the cancer patient fund at Central Vermont Medical Center’s National Life Cancer Treatment Center.

Theresa Lever, patient navigator at the cancer center at CVMC, said the fund was created out of necessity. Lever said cancer carries a particularly heavy burden, be it emotional, psychological or financial.

“What happens with cancer is your treatment can disable you temporarily,” she said. “Other diseases, you start taking your medicine and you start feeling better. With cancer, you start the treatment and you’re not feeling better for a while.”

Lever said those undergoing cancer treatment often have to stop working and many use up their sick time just getting diagnosed because it can take so many doctor’s visits, tests and screenings to arrive at the diagnosis. 

The funds from Branches of Hope help ease the non-medical burdens that newly diagnosed cancer patients carry. As a general rule patients in need are allowed $500 annually, not as a cash outlay but rather to help pay bills and for gift cards for purchases like gas and food.

Lever said while the fund is administered through CVMC, central Vermonters undergoing cancer treatment at any other hospital are also eligible for assistance.

Examples of how the program has helped people are many. Lever said just this week the fund helped a patient make a mortgage payment; she also cited two instances in which patients received notices that their electricity was going to be shut off for lack of payment, but the fund was able to keep the lights on.

Chris Graff, vice president of communications for National Life, told of a patient who needed dental work before her cancer treatment but couldn’t afford it. Once again, the Branches of Hope fund paid the bill.

Graff said one of the insurance company’s own employees was battling cancer and had gotten behind on her utility bills. The fund helped with those expenses too.

“It took all the stress away,” he said.

Graff said regardless of how much money was raised Saturday, National Life is committed to kicking in another $15,000. (Last year the festival raised around $11,000.) Graff said any shortfall in this year’s fundraising would be made up by National Life’s charitable fund.

“So that we can give them a strong base to operate from,” he said.

This was news to CVMC CEO Judy Tartaglia, who teared up when told of the $15,000 commitment.

“You just have to spend a day in our cancer center to understand and appreciate how far that money is going to go to help people in our community who are in need,” she said.

“The great thing about this event is our fund previously had been funded by bake sales that would raise $200, $300, $400 at best,” she said. “This event gives us thousands of dollars and has made such a considerable difference in people’s lives.”

Despite some concerns about the prospect of thunderstorms on a muggy Saturday, the weather cooperated through the afternoon and well into the evening.

The name of the festival stems from a set of corporate values that National Life proclaims: “Do Good. Be Good. Make Good.”

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