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Community members light candles in remembrance of all the cancer survivors and those who lost their battle to cancer during the Cupcake Crusader event held at SVMC in Bennington last year

BENNINGTON >> The third annual Community Remembrance Day is right around the corner, and volunteers, fundraising groups, runners and walkers are needed to take part in the day's activities at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC).

On June 4, the Cancer Center Community Crusaders will kick off the day with a Freedom 5K run and walk at 10 a.m. featuring a revolutionary theme. In the past, the day's focus revolved around judging cupcakes presented by various "crews" of the Crusaders. But, this year it's about remembering those who passed away from cancer.

"They'll [crews] bring their cupcakes to be judged and sell as usual. We won't have them out as the forefront as far as our campaign goes," Joanne Holden, Crusader co-chair said. "Each crew chooses cancer-related themes, decorates their area, has a slogan and decorates cupcakes with that theme. For $5 you can get a card and taste 10 and vote on them."

Last year, one group's theme pertained to the Disney movie "Frozen." The group's slogan was "freezing out cancer."

The co-chairs anticipate some sort of freedom theme this year because of the race/walk.

Entertainment includes a bouncy house, face painting and dunk booth for kids. Breakfast for the race and lunch will be provided by the Mount Anthony Union Booster Club. There will be live music at the opening and closing ceremony by a Mount Anthony student and music teacher.


Paper doves can be purchased for $5 now, and on the Remembrance Day. Write the name of someone who lost their battle to cancer and it'll be hung from a tent on the event day. Last year, over 800 doves were displayed.

"We started this [event] because a group of us used to work with another organization, and we decided to keep the money here and had been fundraising for other events for a long time. We wanted to do something for our own community," Erica Rogers, Crusader co-chair said. "You don't have to be a patient at the center to get help. You just have to have the diagnosis and live in the community area. The day of the event is before National Cancer Survivor Day."

Rogers and Holden are both survivors and caregivers. The Crusaders is a group that raises money to help cancer patients afford necessities in life that they might choose over cancer treatment. The group is completely separate from the hospital, besides the fact that raised money goes through the Southwestern Vermont Health Care Foundation.

The Crusaders assist cancer patients in the immediate area as well as surrounding New York and Massachusetts towns. The patient remains anonymous and does not have to be admitted to SVMC to receive funding.

Last year, over $44,000 was raised by the Crusaders. Crews fundraise throughout the year, in addition to the Remembrance Day and Cabin Fever Dance in the winter.

This year there will be a Chinese auction, and the co-chairs said that "many wonderful baskets" have already been donated.

Registration cost $20 and is open until the day of the event. Proceeds benefit the Regional Cancer Center's Patient Resource Fund. It is hosted in partnership with the Batten Kill Valley Runners. Visit RunReg to register online.

For information on National Cancer Survivor Day, visit

To participate or volunteer, contact Carson Thurber at 902-447-5488 or email