St. John Cancer Fund Hosting 8 Tuff Miles Recovery Party Feb. 23

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After tackling the grueling hills of St. John in the 18th Annual 8 Tuff Miles Road Race on Saturday, February 22, be sure to relax on one of the island’s picturesque beaches on Sunday, February 23, and support one of the most important local organizations.

St. John Cancer Fund volunteers are hosting the 2nd Annual 8 Tuff Miles Recovery Beach Party at Oppenheimer Beach on February 23 starting at 11 a.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to ease their aching feet, while enjoying delicious food and drinks, a beer pong tournament and a “golden ticket” raffle drawing.

Several local massage therapists will be on hand to rub those sore muscles, well-earned from hoofing it across the island the day before. Beach party goers will also enjoy fresh grilled hot dogs and hamburgers or roasted pig while gearing up for the action in the hotly anticipated beer pong tournament. Individual registration for the tournament is only $25 and three tables will be going at once en route to the finale.

In addition to bragging rights, the beer pong grand champion will have his or her name posted on a one-of-a-kind trophy hand-crafted by St. John artist George Hollander and displayed at The Tap Room.

St. John artisan George Hollander with the Beer Pong Trophy he recently crafted for the event.

For those lacking beer pong talent in the group, St. John Cancer Fund is hosting an exciting golden ticket raffle drawing with three luxurious prizes.

The group is only selling 100 tickets for $100 each for the chance to win: a five-night stay at Gallows Point Resort and dinner for two at restaurant Ocean 362; a week’s stay at the three-bedroom Upper Carolina villa Day Dream with a seven-day Jeep rental from Sunshine Jeeps; and round-trip transportation and a weekend stay at Neptune’s Treasure on Anegada.

Be ready to enjoy a great beach party with plenty of food and drinks, music and games. While there is no parking at Oppenheimer Beach, taxis are available from Cruz Bay and a shuttle will run all afternoon from the Mongoose Junction area.

All proceeds from the event will help cancer patients on St. John thanks to St. John Cancer Fund, which has zero administrative fees, explained board member Mary Bartolucci.

“One-hundred percent of everything we make goes to St. John cancer patients in need,” said Bartolucci. “The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, which handles our money, has angels that cover costs so we don’t get charged anything for them to take care of our financials. We have complete 100 percent transparency.”

The St. John Cancer Fund, which is comprised of a board of volunteers, also has no restrictions on how residents in need can spend their funds. The group is only restricted in its giving by how much money is in its coffers. St. John Cancer Fund, only one-year-and-a-half old,  has already raised its financial assistance cap per resident, Bartolucci added.

“When we started, we didn’t have anything and we wanted to be sure there was going to be plenty of money for people,” she said. “So we set the cap at $1,500. Thanks to support from many different groups and businesses on St. John, we’ve been able to raise that cap to $2,500 per person.”

From a Gifft Hill School bake sale to Woody’s Seafood Saloon’s annual Save Second Base Block Party and High Tide’s Dinghy Poker Run, and more, many St. John organizations, businesses and individual residents have helped to make sure cancer patients in need have access to financial assistance. 

“What is great is that the fund is provided by the community and goes directly to the community,” said Bartolucci.

Since its founding in July 2012, the group has helped a total of 23 patients and donated a total of $33,564.11 to residents who needed help paying for rent, gas, airline tickets and more, and without the hassle of jumping through hoops.

“I thought there was going to be a lot of paper work and all these hassles to deal with,” said St. John architect Ken Yolman, a cancer survivor who relied on the fund recently himself. “It was absolutely simple. I faxed in the application and a couple of days later they sent out a check.”

“I got behind the financial eight ball being away for five months for treatment and not having any insurance,” he said. “They really helped and it couldn’t have been easier.”

Yolman is roasting up the pig for the beach party on February 23 and is happy to be able to help, he explained.

“I’m supporting the St. John Cancer Fund because they helped me when I really needed it,” said Yolman. “They paid for several months of rent and helped me pay to get back to the states for my check up. Thank god there are people who donate to this fund.”

“It really, really helps,” said Yolman. “And there are so many people who are affected by cancer. You don’t realize it until you are one of them, I guess.”

With zero administrative costs and all proceeds staying on the island to help island residents, St. John Cancer Fund can help more people only with the community’s support. Mark those calenders for Sunday, February 23, for the Second Annual 8 Tuff Miles Recovery Beach Party at Oppenheimer Beach at 11 a.m.

For more information about St. John Cancer Fund, check out www.stjohncancerfund.org, or email stjohncancerfund@gmail.com.