MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Otters and the Middlebury Mystix, two women’s community ice hockey teams, will host the 14th annual “Face Off Against Breast Cancer” hockey tournament on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, at the Memorial Sports Center in Middlebury. Last year, the event raised over $70,000 for the statewide Cancer Patient Support Program, and the Otters and Mystix are hoping to break that record in 2013. Over the course of its history, the Face Off Against Breast Cancer has raised over $270,000 for charity.
This year’s tournament brings 11 women’s hockey teams from all over Vermont, competing in games in competitive, recreational and novice divisions, as well as a “Friends and Family” division for men, kids and co-ed groups. Ongoing hospitality and refreshments will be served in the Warming Hut. Joining the Middlebury Otters and Mystix will be guest teams the Burlington Ice Breakers, Green Mountain Thunder, Evolution, Waterbury Wicked, Manchester Rusty Blades, Burlington Black Ice, Barre 32 Degrees, Code Blue, and the Rutland Cutting Edge. Game schedules are available online at www.faceoffagainstbreastcancer.org.
In addition to hockey games, the Face Off Against Breast Cancer also includes several other associated activities on the tournament weekend. A fun-filled benefit concert with The Horse Traders will rock Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury on Saturday night, Jan. 19, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The band’s cover charge and 10 percent of all sales during the event will be donated to the Face Off Against Breast Cancer. Two special guest speakers will also appear at the tournament: on Saturday at 4:25 p.m., Chef Curtiss Hemm, founder of Pink Ribbon Cooking, will talk about how food can help improve the quality of life before, during, and after a breast cancer diagnosis. On Sunday at 3:40 p.m., radiation oncologist and professor Dr. Ruth Heimann will share recent developments in breast cancer.
The tournament was established in 2000, when a member of the Middlebury Otters was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, her survivor story is now a success. The need for support continues, however: One in eight women will face a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Cancer Patient Support Program’s (CPSP) patient services and emergency fund, and are earmarked for breast cancer patients. CPSP provides counseling, nutritional support and emergency financial assistance. The Face Off Against Breast Cancer is the single largest fundraiser for CPSP’s Emergency Fund.
This year, the Face Off Against Breast Cancer is highlighting “Stories from the Heart,” actual accounts from breast cancer patients who have benefitted from the tournament proceeds:
“Sue is a 44-year-old woman diagnosed with breast cancer who underwent bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, chemotherapy and Herceptin. She is greatly appreciative of having been able to use the Emergency Fund, as she was unable to work during treatment, and had no income whatsoever during that time. She used the money on several occasions, up to the $500 max, to pay her electric bill. ‘It was a huge relief not to have the threat of my electricity being turned off,’ she said. She started using the Fund at the initiation of her chemotherapy in October 2011. She expresses tremendous gratitude for this help.”
“Some of the women we treat are so grateful they immediately want to know how they can be of help to others. Jose (not her real name) is just such a gal. She has been dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis for the last 7 years. During her initial diagnosis she felt lost and abandoned by her family. Learning about CPSP and a group of people who truly cared was extremely important. Over the course of treatment, she needed financial help with prescription costs that were not covered by her insurance. Though she is a proud woman, with CPSP, she didn’t have to ask for help — it was just offered. ‘You guys were just there,’ Jose said. Knowing that financial support was available for other breast cancer patients was very important to Jose, and last year she paid back the money we provided to her through Face Off Against Breast Cancer. However, life has a way of taking difficult turns. This year when Jose was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she had to go to Boston frequently to enroll in a clinical trial. CPSP offered her help with hotel expenses, and she was so thankful. Once again she felt held and cared for by this community of women. Thank you so much for your continued support through the Face Off Against Breast Cancer. Jose is not alone or abandoned this time.”
“Kathleen is a 50-year old woman who was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer several years ago, and who continues to work full time while she receives cancer treatment in Boston. The Emergency Fund provided $500 to assist with extensive physical therapy for lymphedema, surgical scarring, and a frozen shoulder. Kathleen said that her health insurance provides 30 visits per year for physical therapy. However, before she even realized that she had used more than the allowed visits, she found that she owed the PT facility $800. To make matters worse, she needed to continue additional PT visits following a medical procedure to relieve the frozen shoulder. The Emergency Fund provided her with the opportunity to learn the exercises necessary to increase her range of motion and enhance the quality of her life.”
The Face Off Against Breast Cancer is supported by many sponsors drawn from the Vermont community. Major sponsors for 2013 include the Addison Independent, The Horse Traders, Two Brothers Tavern and Lounge, and WVTK 92.1. The tournament committee is also seeking business sponsorships in the amounts of $25-2,500. Sponsorship information is available online at www.faceoffagainstbreastcancer.org, or checks made out to FOABC may be mailed to P.O. Box 421, Middlebury, VT 05753.
Members of all participating teams are requesting support in the form of individual player sponsorships. Donations can be made securely online at www.faceoffagainstbreastcancer.org or checks may be made out to Cancer Patient Support Program (CPSP) and send to Face Off Against Breast Cancer, P.O Box 421, Middlebury, VT 05753. For more information, contact 2013 co-chairs Liza Sacheli Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-989-0376) or Cathy Chase (email@example.com or 802-989-0039).