LEWISTOWN — There is help for cancer patients and their families who are struggling financially. The Bob Perks Fund — a Centre County-based organization which assists with expenses such as rent and utility bills is now serving Mifflin County. Organizers discussed services the nonprofit offers during the Rotary Club of Lewistown’s meeting on Tuesday.
The Bob Perks Fund was established in 2006 in memory of Bob Perks, a State College native who passed away at age 42 after a long battle with cancer. “I am overwhelmed by the support and reception we have received in Mifflin County,” said Doreen Perks, Bob Perks’ wife, who founded the organization with friends, family and colleagues.
Doreen Perks said her husband was the founding member of Coaches vs Cancer, a fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society that is run through school basketball teams.
To be eligible to receive assistance, Perks said recipients must be referred from someone on their cancer treatment team.
“They would have had enough conversations with this person to know they are having significant financial problems,” Perks said. “Some people will cancel appointments because they can’t afford gas to get there.” “When you’re focused on ‘I can’t feed my kids, I can’t heat my house,’ you are not giving yourself the best odds to beat the cancer,” Perks said.
Since its inception, The Bob Perks Fund has given more than $2 million in its four-county coverage area, which included Blair, Centre, Clearfield and Huntingdon counties, prior to including Mifflin and Juniata counties.
The Bob Perks Fund operates strictly through donations and fundraisers and is seeking sponsors.
The organization is able to offer services to Mifflin County thanks to a $50,000 donation it will receive over two years from the Geisinger Foundation, said Norma Keller, director of the Bob Perks Fund, who also spoke on Tuesday. “Every dollar that we use to help a cancer patient is a donated dollar,” said Keller.
Since services began on Sept. 1, the organization has served five Mifflin County residents.
For more information about applying for assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (814) 231-2692. For general information, visit www.bobperksfund.org or contact Keller at email@example.com or (814) 327-9247.