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Fund raises money for Brainerd lakes area residents battling cancer

Cancer fund raises money for Brainerd lakes area patients

Nearly $20,000 was raised in August through the 6th Annual Swanson’s Melanoma Golf Open fundraiser in Breezy Point to support the American Cancer Society, for Melanoma cancer research at the University of Minnesota, and new Brainerd Lakes Pay It Forward for Cancer Fund through the Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Foundation.

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating emotionally, physically and financially. Local cancer survivor, Wayne Swanson, has experienced this journey. In an effort to give back to those who supported his family during recovery, the Brainerd Lakes Pay It Forward for Cancer Fund was established to ease the burden of daily living expenses for those who have a diagnosis of cancer and are receiving treatment. The hope is that when the cancer survivor recovers they would in turn Pay It Forward by volunteering their time, talent or treasure to someone else in need.

Funds will be used to directly impact cancer patients’ non-medical needs through a one-time financial assistance that may take the form of a gas card, mortgage payment, childcare expense, etc. In addition a small portion — 5 percent — will be dedicated to education for cancer prevention and early detection for the Brainerd lakes area community.

“The Pay it Forward Fund is one way that as a community, we can collaborate to extend our outreach to improve the health of residents in the Brainerd lakes area,” said Marian Foehrenbacher, Cancer Center manager at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, in a news release. “Having resources for helping to treat the entire patient, not just physically, spiritually and emotionally through compassionate care by Essentia Health staff, but practically by helping to meet the needs patients have beyond the disease.”

To apply for a gift from the Brainerd Lakes Pay It Forward for Cancer Fund, call 828-7564 to request an application form. Criteria for recipients include the person must currently be in treatment for cancer and must live in the communities of Brainerd to Pine River and the surrounding area.

“This fund is a great example of how we can take the desires and interests of donors and match them with community need through the St. Joseph’s Foundation with a donor designated fund,” said Cheryl Gelbmann, development officer for the Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Foundation.

All donations are tax deductible and can be made online at, by check payable to St. Joseph’s Foundation-Brainerd Lakes Pay It Forward for Cancer Fund, or by credit card.

Save the date for Party for a Cause event the Swanson’s are hosting on Nov. 10 at Breezy Point Resort to raise awareness and more dollars for the Brainerd Lakes Pay It Forward for Cancer Fund. For more information, call 218-562-5078.

To learn more about St. Joseph’s Foundation or apply to the Brainerd Lakes Pay It Forward for Cancer Fund, call 828-7564.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889