Gifts that are One of a Kind- the Doris Via Cancer Fund

To contact the Doris Via Cancer fund, contact the Office of Case Management at Bath Community Hospital, or  use the following mailing address:  Doris L. Via Cancer Fund, P.O. Box 174, Hot Springs , VA 24445.

This time of year, when so much attention is on gift giving, it is especially good to hear about a gift that helps people when they need it more than ever. The Doris Via Cancer Fund is one local organization that offers just that kind of gift. I spoke with Rick Armstrong, one of its board members.

“Doris Via lived in Bath County all of her life, and uh in her later years, she was by herself, and when she died she made it clear in her will, that the residue of her estate would be set up in a trust or in a fund that would be used to help cancer patients in Bath County, Virginia, uh, so a very generous lady.”

Do you know how long ago that was? In what year she set that up?

“The Doris Via Cancer Fund was established in 2011 as a non-profit 501c3 organization meaning that all donations to the Doris Via Cancer Fund are tax-deductible.”

Unlike many of the large, almost “corporate” fundraising groups who put huge amounts of money into research and administration, this group is committed, according to Mrs. Via’s wishes, to keep its funds in the community, and to be sure they are directly used for care.

“We are governed by an all-volunteer board. So every bit of money that goes into the Doris Via Cancer fund goes to help residents of Bath County.”

Could you take as good a guess as you can about roughly how many families or individuals the fund has helped so far with their treatment?

Mr. Armstrong replied around a couple of dozen individuals or families. We tend, as with most major illnesses, to think of whole families as being affected by a cancer diagnosis. Every diagnosis is unique. And treatments can vary from a few months, to repeated series over years. Frequently a primary caregiver, or wage earner is the patient, and others need to step into roles they’ve never held before. Some financial assistance goes a long way towards reducing stress for any of these folks. Rick Armstrong explained how it works.

“Most of our assistance so far, is in fuel assistance. If some one has a need, they contact us, and then we evaluate their circumstances and their request individually. So one person may get help with their gas money, and some one else may get assistance with medication. Each person is looked at in an individual manner to see how best we can help that person.”

Like most non-profits the Doris Via Cancer Fund looks at a variety of ways to raise money when they need it. They held an auction back in September, and send out mailings from time to time. Rick Armstrong also reflected.

“People do step forward, and we get a lot of people that donate in honor or in memory of folks that have passed on.” There is information about how to contact the Doris Via Cancer Fund on the Allegheny Mountain Radio website under the news tab.

When asked if there were anything more he would like to share with listeners form three counties, Rick Armstrong replied.

“Just to say, ‘Thank You’ to each person who has contributed to the Doris Via Cancer Fund. We appreciate that very much, and we also want to wish all of our friends, families, and constituents, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and may it be a blessed one.”

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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