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For this month's Challenge Cancer 2020 package, our partners at WMTW-TV interview Maine Cancer Foundation transportation grantee, Dean Snell Cancer Foundation (DSCF).

Since 2012, Maine Cancer Foundation has given over $50,000 in transportation grants to DSCF to support cancer patients in Midcoast Maine who travel to and from treatment. 

Your generous support helps ease the burden of transportation costs for cancer patients in our state. Thank you!

#togetherwecan #challengecancer2020

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Challenge Cancer 2020 is our visionary initiative to cut cancer rates in Maine by 2020. Our goal for a Maine less burdened by cancer requires active participation from people and communities across the state. Our success depends on inviting key stakeholders to the table to share strategy, tactics, and experience.

We recently sat down with one of our stakeholders: Sharon Snell, President of Dean Snell Cancer Foundation (DSCF). Since 2012, DSCF has received consecutive Maine Cancer Foundation grants totaling $52,500 to support transportation for Midcoast Maine cancer patients seeking treatment.


“It was like a tsunami,” said Sharon Snell, President of Dean Snell Cancer Foundation. A resurgence of esophageal cancer in her husband Dean upended the family’s hope for recovery. He was diagnosed in June 2008, and by fall 2009, lost his life to the disease.

The morning after Dean’s passing, a condolence call from an oncologist at New England Cancer Specialists (where Dean received treatment), planted the seed for a way to honor his memory. “I said to [the oncologist], ‘I’d like to start a memorial fund in Dean’s memory.’” The idea ricocheted through Dean and Sharon’s family, including their six adult children, and landed with a resounding yes. The family decided to start an independent foundation and the Dean Snell Cancer Foundation (DSCF) was born fast enough to be included in Dean’s obituary. Days after his passing, $4,000 was raised in memorial donations alone.

Since 2009, DSCF has raised over $400,000 for New England Cancer Specialists [NECS] patients. “NECS [supports] cancer patients up and down the Midcoast area. We’ve helped people from Vinalhaven to Sabattus,” Sharon noted. The organization is entirely volunteer-run, and the funds raised go directly to individual patient needs.”There are as many situations as there are patients,” said Sharon. “Early on we decided we didn’t want anyone to fill out an application or intake form. There are no restrictions and no formulas. We only provide help where needed.”

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Since 2012, Dean Snell Cancer Foundation has received six transportation grants from Maine Cancer Foundation. Check out the amazing work their organization is doing for Midcoast Mainers who are navigating the difficult and unexpected road of cancer. 

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Did you know that over half of the oncologists in Maine are in Cumberland County? 

As one of the most rural states in the country, many cancer patients live far away from treatment providers, and access to care may become a significant barrier to recovery.

For over a decade, Maine Cancer Foundation has provided funding for transportation programs that offer assistance to cancer patients statewide. But we believe there is more we can do. 

Here are the big questions we've been asking: