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Bob Perks Fund celebrates major milestone

by on September 24, 2015 12:26 AM

STATE COLLEGE — One million dollars.

That's the staggering amount of money that has been raised and distributed by those in charge of the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund.

On Sept. 18, more than 100 supporters of the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance gathered at the Toftrees Resort and Conference Center to celebrate the organization's milestone during an event entitled “Thanks A Million.”

“We have now allocated $1 million dollars to our community,” said founder, Doreen Perks. “It is really great.”

The Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund was started nearly a decade ago, in 2006.

“To be honest, I had no concept of how big this was going to get,” Perks said. “I just wanted to do something good and carry on something that Bob wanted to do. When I sit and think about it, I think, 'wow, a million dollars is a lot of money. I didn't know if we'd get there.”

But they did. Since its inception in 2006, the fund has assisted more than 1,300 local cancer patients who struggle to pay for their most basic expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries and gas for cancer treatment travel.

According to exceutive director Norma Keller, the accomplishment speaks for itself.

“For a small, local non-profit organization, this is an amazing accomplishment,” Keller said. “All of those one million dollars were donated by individuals, families, businesses, local foundations, Huntingdon County United Way donors and through successful Bob Perks fundraising events and those held on our behalf.”

The “Thanks A Million” celebration gave those involved a chance to reminisce about Bob Perks' role in establishing the American Cancer Society's local Coaches vs. Cancer event many years before he passed away at 42.

The million dollars has helped countless cancer patients and their loved ones, Perks said.

“It's huge. Think about how many electric bills have been paid,” she said.

It was a very emotional evening for Perks and her family.

“A lot of people spent a lot of time talking about Bob and me and it was emotional. I wasn't prepared for it. Sometimes, that's what gets me. I feel like we've really carried out Bob's dream and his mission. It's a little bit overwhelming,” she said.

On Friday, Perks was surrounded by family and friends. And while she expects great feedback from the people close to her, it's the public at large and the families the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund helps that she truly treasures.

“The feedback that I get from people is great. They might not know us real well, but they learn more about us or meet someone that we've helped. They're very impressed by how we run. It runs like a well-oiled machine,” she said.

When it comes to distributing the funds, Perks said that not much has changed since its inception.

“We have policies and procedures. We stick with them. They're basically the same as they were 10 years ago, when we started all of this,” she said. “We've had to conform to the growth, but it's really the same process.”

The Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund will hold its 10thh anniversary Tailgate Party on Saturday, Nov. 7 when Penn State visits Northwestern. The game will be shown on big screen television at the Mountain View Country Club in Boalsburg. The signature event has raised $280,000 for local cancer patients.

According to Perks, fundraising efforts become more challenging every year.

“It's starting to be very difficult to fundraise with local events. You're asking the same people to keep coming out and supporting the event again and again,” Perks said. “The cost of having an event is going through the roof. We can't keep upping the price … we're raising less and less money doing the same things we've always done.”

Perks said that she's trying to find different ways to fundraise.

“From a fundraising perspective, we need to find different ways to gain support for what we're doing,” she said. “We really have to grow that side of the organization.”

For more information about the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund, visit www.bobperksfund.org.

 



Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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