The directors of Kick Cancer to the Curb

The directors of Kick Cancer to the Curb of Mille Lacs County met with Julie Lang, who started the Kanabec County organization that inspired theirs.

From left to right: James Gerads, Roxanne Gerads, President Tracy Vanderpoel, Julie Lang, her husband Steven Lang, Dean Hjort, Annette Alley and Bob Alley.

Cancer is an ever present disease of current age.

On their website, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 1.7 million new cancer cases diagnosed in 2019. Inspired by work being done in another nearby county, a new organization has formed in Mille Lacs County this year to help relieve the hardship cancer inflicts locally.

President Tracy Vanderpoel explained that a Kick Cancer to the Curb organization had first been founded by her friend, Julie Lang, in Kanabec County. While Vanderpoel’s organization was not officially affiliated with Lang’s, it was inspired by and aimed to emulate Lang’s organization. Kick Cancer to the Curb of Mille Lacs County officially began its work in May of this year, Vanderpoel said, after six months of work getting the organization set up. She added that the organization has been fully recognized as a non-profit.

Vanderpoel said that she works as a hospice nurse at Fairview Hospital in Princeton. Her work has involved taking care of many individuals with cancer. “You just see what they and their families go through,” she added. Vanderpoel has been diagnosed with cancer herself, and her perspective on battling the disease was not just professional, but personal as well. “Our whole goal is to help people who are battling this disease,” she said. Kick Cancer to the Curb of Mille Lacs County provides financial assistance for the medical costs of cancer on a six-month basis. If a patient was still undergoing treatment after six months, they could qualify again. Vanderpoel outlined two simple requirements for this assistance: you have to be a resident of Mille Lacs County and undergoing treatment or hospice for cancer. “It has no bearing on what their financial background is,” she added. To get support, Vanderpoel said, individuals have to fill out a form, available at the Kick Cancer to the Curb of Mille Lacs County website or by contacting the organization. Vanderpoel said forms are also available at the Princeton and Onamia hospitals as well the other clinics throughout Mille Lacs County. A doctor or nurse will need to sign the form to verify a patient is undergoing treatment and the organization would send a check once this form was reviewed. If an applicant met the above requirements, Vanderpoel said, their application would be approved. She also noted that the application process was entirely confidential. “The unique thing about our organization,” Vanderpoel noted, “is the money stays here in Mille Lacs County … When you are donating to our organization, it’s helping your friend, your neighbor, your loved one. It’s so unique because most organizations aren’t like that.” She elaborated that the money will not be going toward administrative fees, and no one in the organization will be making a salary off donations. Nearly 100% of the money will be going toward county residents, she stated.

Fundraising events are currently in the works, Vanderpoel said, and will be starting either during the fall or around the beginning of winter. The organization’s goal is to have events throughout the whole of the county, in Princeton and Milaca as well as the county’s northern cities, such as Isle and Onamia. If anyone wants to make a direct donation to the organization, Vanderpoel said, checks can be mailed to Kick Cancer to the Curb of Mille Lacs County: P.O. Box 132, Milaca, MN, 56353.

Volunteer work is also needed and Vanderpoel encouraged anyone interested in doing so to reach out to the organization. She noted that volunteers interested in organizing efforts for the northern Mille Lacs community were particularly needed.

Vanderpoel said Lang’s goal was to see a Kick Cancer to Curb form in every county in the state, and through the work she is doing, Vanderpoel is contributing to that mission.

Kick Cancer to the Curb of Mille Lacs County can be reached through their website: kickcancertothecurbmillelacsco.com. They are on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kickCancertotheCurbofMilleLacsCo/ and can be reached by phone, 320-260-1869, or email, kickcancerofmillelacs@gmail.com.

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