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Community

By Michelle Venus

No two days are the same for Michelle Boyle. Sonny Lubick’s only daughter is the Executive Director of RamStrength, a nonprofit organization based in Fort Collins that supports cancer patients. A typical day includes day to day administration, meeting with donors, hospitals and patients, writing grant proposals and planning and coordinating events. It’s a little bit of everything,” says Michelle. Since the organization’s inception in 2008, it has helped over 1,300 people battling cancer. Michelle Boyle with her dad Sonny Lubick How It All Began In 2006, Michelle’s brother Marc was diagnosed at age 28 with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the skeletal muscle cells. Typically a pediatric cancer, only about 350 cases are diagnosed annually in people under the age of 21 in the United States. For adults, that number is much lower. According to the Journal of Pediatric Medicine, just over 400 adult cases have been seen at cancer centers in the US and Europe over the past three decades. Today, Marc is a ten-year survivor. “Marc asked us to give back if he didn’t make it,” Michelle recalls. “We told him he was going to make it, and decided we’d give back no matter what.” Thus, RamStrength came to be. The Lubbock family looked at the devastation caused by cancer—the emotional, physical, and financial ruin that can follow a positive diagnosis. They heard heartwrenching stories about people foregoing

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life-saving treatment or eating dog food in order to pay for the care that could save them. “That just isn’t right,” states Michelle. “RamStrength does whatever it can to make sure these things don't happen to anyone. We want people to concentrate on fighting their disease, not worrying about the next rent check.” Patients can apply for RamStrength grants with help from their case workers at UCHealth or Banner. Once financial need has been established after a screening process, monies are dispersed. Patients are eligible for an annual $750 grant as long as they are in active treatment. “Most of the patients use the grant for rent or a mortgage payment,” explains Michelle. “We’ve paid utility bills, and provided gas cards to help with transportation costs to and from treatment. But mostly, we’re letting them know that they are not alone; that people in the community do

care for them. That may mean more than anything else.” In addition to the financial grants, RamStrength awards scholarships to Colorado State University students who have been impacted by cancer. Currently there are three recipients. Michelle goes on to explain that “amazingly generous donors” help to fund RamStrength’s programs. But the annual events generate the bulk of the revenue. Right now, Michelle is coordinating with Prost Brewing, in Old Firehouse Alley, for Blues, Brews and BBQ, a family-friendly event scheduled for September 10th. Next on the docket is the RamStrength Tailgate Party. Michelle is expecting over 600 attendees for the October 28th party. “We invite people we’ve helped over the years to join us,” she says. “This year we’re going to be at the new stadium and that’s really exciting. Everyone is looking forward to it.” STYLEMEDIA.COM

2017-09 Lydia's Style Magazine  
2017-09 Lydia's Style Magazine  

Annual Breast Cancer Issue!