The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group (MVCSG) will kick off “A Celebration of Survival & Support,” a potluck party, at 5 pm on Sunday, March 10, at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs.
Since it is a celebration, not a fundraiser, there is no admission fee and no auction, MVCSG president Jane Carroll said in a recent press release. Everyone is welcome to attend and encouraged to bring a dish to share, if possible.
The MVCSG’s roots date back more than 25 years to a group of women who had all been diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the press release. They called themselves “Bosom Buddies” and met weekly to share their experiences and feelings and offer one another strong support.
The group grew to include people diagnosed with other types of cancer, so they adopted the MVCSG name in 1986. Eight years later the group incorporated and formed a board of directors.
In 1996 MVCSG began accepting applications for financial assistance, funded by charitable donations. Since then MVCSG has awarded grants totaling more than $500,000 and helped more than 500 individuals or Island families, according to the press release. In 2012, MVCSG provided more than $58,000 in financial aid.
The support group hosts an annual fundraiser, usually in May, to raise money that will be given out in grants over the next year. The MVCSG has no administrative expenses, and all money raised goes back into the community.
In addition to financial assistance, MVCSG continues to hold weekly meetings where newly diagnosed cancer patients, patients currently in treatment, long-time cancer survivors, and their significant others get together to talk and offer each other support. The meetings are held every Wednesday at noon in the library of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven.