A little more than a year after forming, St. John Cancer Fund is being honored by the community.
The group is being given the Wilbur “Bill” LaMotta Community Service Award by St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce during the group’s annual award banquet on Saturday, April 12, at St. Peter Greathouse on St. Thomas.
The Wilbur “Bill” LaMotta Community Service Award, established in 1983, recognizes the contributions to the U.S. Virgin Islands of public officials and private citizens whose achievements reflect the commitment and dedication exemplified by the life and work of Bill LaMotta.
Prior to his death in 1980, LaMotta was President of the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce, a Small Businessman of the Year, a civic leader and renowned Caribbean composer and musician. The awards are presented to individuals who exhibit dedication, sincerity, forthrightness and ethics in the performance of his or her duties or in the practice of his or her business or profession.
The 2014 Wilbur “Bill” LaMotta Community Service Award recipients are Adriane Dudley, Esq., Partner, Dudley Rich & Davis; Mary Gleason , CEO, Hospitality Consulting Services; and Darryl Smalls, P.E., Department of Public Works Commissioner.
In 1999, the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors added the recognition of an individual involved in the leadership of a nonprofit or charitable organization or an organization for the service it provides to the community to its annual Awards Banquet.
This year the group is honoring the India Association of the Virgin Islands and the St. John Cancer Fund.
“We are thrilled to be honored with this award,” said St. John Cancer Fund board member Mary Bartolucci. “We’re still trying to get the word out about who we are what we do, so this type of recognition is really important for us.”
“This is also a reaffirmation that we are going in the right direction and there really is a need for this,” Bartolucci said.
What the St. John Cancer Fund does is provide money to people in need who are suffering from cancer or who are affected by the disease. Funds can be used for anything from paying back rent for cancer patients who can not work to covering the cost of airfare for patients seeking treatment stateside.
St. John Cancer Fund works with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands which administers the fund with zero overhead. Thanks to community angels, CFVI is able to charge St. John Cancer Fund no administrative costs while processing patient requests usually within 24 hours, explained Bartolucci.
“We get money to people who need it quickly and easily and allow them to use it for whatever they need it for,” said Bartolucci.
Before Debbie Apple’s recent passing, for example, St. John Cancer Fund was able to pay for her to fly to Florida to be with her beloved sister Connie.
“That was really important to her,” said Bartolucci. “It was really nice that the funds were able to come through for her.”
The St. John Cancer Fund patient funding cap is dictated solely by the amount of money in the group’s coffers. Thanks to fundraisers like Woody’s Seafood Saloon’s Save Second Base Block Party, the Dinghy Poker Run and more, St. John Cancer Fund was able to raise its patient cap to $2,500 from $1,500 in its first year alone.
With recognition like the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce Wilbur “Bill” LaMotta Community Service Award, St. John Cancer Fund volunteers hope to be able to continue serving the needs of St. John cancer patients.
Tickets to the STT/STJ Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet, “A Celebration of Colors,” on Saturday, April 12, at St. Peter Greathouse are $140 each and can be reserved by calling (340) 776-0100. The evening will kick off with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner, dancing and the awards program.