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Local donors support fund helping local cancer patients

Updated: Feb 16


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TYRONE — On Tuesday, Jan. 25, leaders of the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund gathered at the Brew in Tyrone. There, founder, Doreen Perks, executive director, Norma Keller and development coordinator, Marjann Young met with Linda Cruz and Teresa Beisel.

For the last six years, both Cruz and Beisel have raised funds to support cancer patients in Tyrone who have received assistance through BPF. Tuesday's meeting was held so that Cruz and Beisel could present checks from their most recent fundraising efforts and so that the members of BPF could personally thank them for the efforts that they've made over the years.


Cruz presented a check for $1,000. The proceeds were a result of a recent "bed sheet sale" wherein she, along with friends and family, sold bedding to members of the community. Beisel offered a check of $1,016, which was acquired through a Stella & Dot jewelry sale that was conducted by Beisel and her friend Susan Hewel Kantor. During the last six years, Cruz and Beisel have held a number of fundraising events for BPF, including a paint party; numerous bed sheet, candle and jewelry sales; and a highly successful "Night at the Races" event.


The BPF was established in 2006 in memory of Bob Perks, a 42-year old State College native, who passed away in 2005, after a lengthy battle with melanoma. The organization was started by Bob's wife, Doreen, as well as his family, friends, and colleagues, with the hope of making a difference for those struggling with cancer. Since 2006, BPF has raised and allocated more than two million dollars.


The organization uses donated funds to help pay the current bills of cancer patients who are undergoing treatment and cannot work to support themselves. Their overwhelming expenses often include rent, utilities, food, gas and car payments. Cancer patients are referred by members of their cancer treatment team in hospital and medical center settings. BPF quickly evaluates cancer patient applications and, if approved, cancer patients' non-medical bills are typically paid within one week of approval.


According to Keller, of the six-county area served by BPF, Blair County submits the highest number of cancer patient applications. Due to the fact that the organization allocates more dollars in Blair County than it receives in donations, fundraising events and personal donations in any amount are gratefully accepted and are used exclusively for Blair County cancer patients.


Helping BPF provide this support currently is Sheetz. Inc., the UPMC Altoona Foundation, UPMC Altoona Hospital, Grane Hospice of Altoona, Cove Cause for Cancer, the Martinsburg area, and dedicated local volunteers such as Cruz and Beisel, who devote countless hours to raise the funds to help their Tyrone neighbors who are battling cancer.


"It's a wonderful organization because the funds go directly toward helping the community" Cruz stated. It's good to see my donations at work."


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