PUTNAM — After more than 25 years of raising funds to help northeastern Connecticut residents prevent and fight cancer, the founders of the Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) Deary Memorial Cancer Fund are passing the torch to DKH and the wider community. DKH will continue to operate the fund under a new name, the Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of DKH, and administrators are looking to the community to continue its historically strong support of the fund through donations and its many associated fund-raising events.
“Through establishment of the fund and these events, the Deary family has played a significant, lasting and meaningful role in the culture of philanthropy and community involvement in our area,” said DKH President and CEO Robert Smanik. 
Smanik said it’s important that the community understand that all money donated to the fund will stay with the fund, regardless of whether or not DKH affiliates with a larger system in the future.
“It is a restricted fund and as such will continue to benefit only local patients through DKH, the same as it always has,” Smanik said. “It is also our intention that the many annual fund-raising events that have been developed to support the fund will continue, and we hope that the hearty community support and participation that they have garnered in the past continues and grows as well.”
The Deary family founded the fund in memory of their beloved daughter and sister, Cathy Deary, and later partnered with DKH to put the fund to good use for the local community. Their wish was to ensure that no one in northeastern Connecticut would forego cancer screening because of cost.
More than a quarter-century later, they have achieved that goal and so much more. The fund now provides financial assistance to more than 200 northeastern Connecticut residents in need each year, not just for cancer screening but for treatment as well. Since its inception the fund has raised over $1 million through community donations and multiple annual fund-raising events including the Deary family’s founding event, the Deary Memorial Race, Walk and Ride. The original race was created by local runners Martin Fey and Jimi Gothreau and the former Observer Patriot was the sponsor.
DKH Director of Development Pamela Watts says that although the closing of this chapter is bittersweet for all involved, she feels certain that the community will continue to support the fund and its events as strongly as ever.
“Day Kimball was founded 121 years ago purely on the support of the community,” Watts said. “It has grown and evolved ever since then because of the support of the community, and the efforts of the Deary family are a significant and inspiring chapter in that story. 
Along with the Deary family, all of us at Day Kimball are excited to see what the future holds for the growth of the fund and continued community leadership in spearheading its many wonderful fund-raising events.”
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