Woman organizes “Communities Against Cancer”









Kathi Brooks was inspired by a childhood neighbor to help out her hometown of Whitehall.

When Brooks saw a picture of Carrianne Ripley, a younger neighbor who grew up just down from Jones on School Street, as one of the faces of Glens Falls Hospital Foundation’s “Communities Against Cancer” campaign, she felt compelled to help.

“When I saw her face, I was like ‘oh my gosh.’ She’s a few years younger than I was and I didn’t expect someone who is so young and who is a mother to have cancer,” said Brooks, now a Gansevoort resident. “It just touched me. I have a four-year-old son and I thought what would I do if something happened to me. If I had to go through the treatments and travel to Boston or New York, what would I do?”

After reading more about the foundation’s goals to raise funds for a new $4 million linear accelerator at C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, she decided to start a campaign that would keep local patients close to home.

“I thought why not help Glens Falls (Hospital) improve its program and keep families together through this,” Brooks said.

So Jones got on the phone with Sandra DiNoto, the hospital’s vice president of philanthropy and community relations, and started to hash out a plan she calls 100-100.

“The idea is to get 100 families or businesses to donate $100 each. That would be $10,000 from people in Whitehall,”Brooks said. “I thought it was something that would be attainable.”

Brooks said she plans to solicit most of the donations over the phone. She chose the annual Canal Festival as a rallying point for her campaign because the band she belongs to, Children at Play, is slated to perform during the two-night event.

“People can bring their contributions to Canal Fest,” Brooks said.


Look for the van

She said the “Communities Against Cancer” van is tentatively scheduled to be parked outside the Skenesborough Park during the event.

The van travels to special events and high-profile locations throughout the area. For a small donation, people receive a magnet on which they can write their name and community and then it’s affixed to the van.

The C.R. Wood Cancer Center is a nationally accredited facility dedicated to cancer care services. The center treats 1,000 new patients from throughout the region each year.

A linear accelerator delivers X-ray and electron beams that destroy cancerous tumors. The hospital has two accelerators, but the new unit has advanced capabilities and can treat tumors in difficult locations. It can also decrease treatment time. For some patients, treatment could be reduced from five to seven weeks to one to three days, and daily treatment times cut from 20 to 30 minutes to as little as two minutes.

Brooks said she and Carrianne weren’t particularly close growing up — Brooks is several years older — but seeing someone she knew made her wonder “what if.”

She said anyone who would like to make a contribution can call her at 796-5294 or stop by the park during the Canal Festival.

“I think this is a great campaign for Whitehall,” Brooks said



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