By Sheri Duff
and Sadie Williams
The Cancer Patient Support Program (CPS) will host its 15th annual Evening Song Gala: A Night to Remember on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 6:30pm the Robert Miller Expo Center in Essex Junction. Organizers of the wildly popular benefit are taking a new direction to mark the special anniversary.
At the helm of the gala’s planning committee is consummate volunteer Carla Bond of Shelburne. “I signed on to chair the event last year,” Bond shared. “The stars were aligned. My kids are older so I have more time…it’s just what I do, it’s my passion. Of course I said I wouldn’t chair the event again this year but I couldn’t say no,” she explained.
“We are changing it up,” Bond enthused. “This year’s event will be celebratory, more of a party atmosphere.” The gala’s planners deviated from the traditional black tie theme in favor of a more natural feel. The goal was to create a garden party atmosphere, with twinkling lights, candles, and a neutral, earthy palette. They’re also ditching traditional table ware in favor of compostable plates and other accoutrements.
The festivities will, for the first time, include a special recognition for major donors and long-time supporters, a silent auction featuring a pair of hard-to-find tickets to the Polar Express, and a live auction that features an exclusive golf outing for eight at Honey Pond Golf Course, a completely private, invitation only golf course. “This new auction item is for an experience you literally cannot buy,” Bond said. “The course is set on a farm in Middletown Springs, Vt. Not only is it beautiful, it’s perfect for duffers and veteran golfers alike,” she informed.
The majority of Bond’s volunteer efforts revolve around fundraising for cancer awareness, research, and treatment organizations. CPS has been providing a helping hand for patients and their families facing cancer since 1999, a year after year Bond moved to Shelburne.
Bond and her husband, Scott, own and manage Bond Auto Parts, a family owned and operated business established in 1956. Since its inception, the company has grown into the seventeenth largest auto parts chain in America, with locations across New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.
“As the Charitable Gifts Coordinator for Bond Auto I manage all of the donation requests. And through the company’s corporate sponsorship, I am involved in a number of great organizations like Make-A-Wish, but on a daily basis, I review donation requests from numerous people and places. The volume of requests we receive is overwhelming, and the majority have something to do with cancer.”
Bond serves on the Development Committee of CPS, is on the board of directors of Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors (HANDS), and is a former Shelburne Little League coach and mom to Alex, 15, and Will, 12. Bond especially enjoys working with like-minded people who share her passion for helping cancer patients in need.
Her passion includes a great respect for the work done by these organizations. “Because CPS is a volunteer-run nonprofit, over 96 percent of the money we receive as donations goes directly to patient services,” commented Bond. “CPS has two part-time administrative employees. But other than that, all volunteers. We rely on them to accomplish our mission.”
CPS’s mission is simple. The program provides cancer patients and their families hope for tomorrow. More specifically, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to offering comprehensive psychosocial services to cancer patients and their families throughout Vermont and upstate New York.
Its vision is that all who face cancer can do so with dignity, confidence, and serenity. Through contributions, CPS makes possible a range of supportive services, including psychological, and nutritional counseling and educational programs. It also provides emergency funding for patients who find themselves in financial hardship due to their illness.
How does Bond and CPS achieve so much with so little? “We’re very lucky. CPS volunteers are incredibly passionate and caring. Many have experienced a recent loss from cancer…so in return they get involved in the organization through the common bond they share,” she said. “A shared experience is a powerful thing.”
“Getting involved with CPS and Evening Song has truly enhanced my life. It is a great organization fueled by volunteer energy and what they are able to do locally for cancer patients is pretty amazing.”
Change your life. Enjoy the elegant cocktail party, dance the night away, purchase an auction item, all while celebrating CPS’s 15th year. Community members interested in purchasing a ticket to the celebration next Saturday, Sept. 27, or making a tax-deductible donation should call (888) 277-3707, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cpspvt.org.
By Sheri Duff