Virtual event

The Betty Kearns Cancer Fund is hosting a virtual Little Black Dress event.

The Little Black Dress event is going virtual again this year to give cancer patients a helping hand.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Betty Kearns Cancer Fund, a fund that provides financial assistance to cancer patients through McLaren Port Huron, Lake Huron Medical Center and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County .

The virtual event is free to watch and will air at 6 p.m. on March 4. The event will feature live music from local musician Ian Smith, live drawing for the raffle baskets and words from the organisers.

Raffle tickets are $5 for big ticket items such as a two-night stay at a bed and breakfast in Sedona, Arizona, a two-night stay at a hotel on Mackinac Island, an array of gift cards for local restaurants and a tour with the Lake Boat Pilots Association. Raffle tickets for small prizes, like a Yeti cooler or a Coach jacket, are $1.

Sponsorship opportunities ranging from $50 to $3,000 are also available. To purchase raffle tickets, become a sponsor or learn more, visit bluewaterlittleblackdress.org/. Check their Facebook page at facebook.com/BluewaterLittleBlackDress/ to see more raffle items and event updates.

“Every dollar you give helps your neighbor, it helps your community,” said Jennifer Rader, a licensed master social worker at Karmanos Cancer Institute in McLaren Port Huron, which helps cancer patients apply for the Betty Kearns Fund.

Betty Kearns Cancer Fund president Amy Andrews-Curtis said event organizers decided to go virtual as a safety measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event also took place virtually last year due to the pandemic, which had a financial impact on the organization. The most recent in-person event, which took place in early March 2020, raised approximately $60,000. Last year’s virtual event raised about $30,000, requiring the organization to use money stored in savings, Andrews-Curtis said.

Learn more about the Betty Kearns Cancer Fund

Rader said patient needs vary widely and are unique to the individual. Patients can receive rent, mortgage, and utility assistance, financial assistance for emergencies like a broken water heater, or receive gas gift cards to help them get to treatments .

“A lot of patients tell me they feel like an angel helped them with these financial stressors,” Rader said.

Rader said some cancer patients may already be living paycheck to paycheck. The fund helps ease the financial burden that a diagnosis could cause so they can focus on their recovery.

“When you receive the diagnosis or the news that you have cancer, it can be very traumatic for you and difficult to deal with, so we are here to support them as much as possible,” Rader said.

Rader said the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly stressful for cancer patients, as patients are at increased risk of serious illness or death from the virus. Isolating yourself from others to stay safe during the pandemic can also be very stressful.

The fund held a six-week yoga class for cancer patients to boost mental health and reduce isolation, and hopes to hold more events to focus on wellness and community, said Rader said.

Rader and Andrews-Curtis said that while the fund is open to all ages and cancers, it also hopes to expand into the area of ​​financial assistance for pediatric patients and their families.

The fund is open to anyone receiving care at McLaren Port Huron or Lake Huron Medical, or a St. Clair County resident receiving care in another area can apply for funds through the community foundation at stclairfoundation.org/betty -kearns-cancer-fund/.

Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or [email protected]

Women dance at a Past Blue Water Little Black Dress event at the Blue Water Convention Center.