PRESQUE ISLE – A local couple helped make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses when they presented an $80,000 check to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
Bob and Lynne Graves, along with their daughter Jordyn, presented Marc Franco, president-elect of the program’s board, with the check earlier this month during a ceremony at the MCCP Scarborough clinic.
The Graveses’ annual donation has accounted for as much as 10 percent of the program’s entire funding in a given year.
The Graveses began raising money for the cancer program in 1999, a year after they lost their 6-year-old son Logan Park Graves to a rare form of brain cancer.
In the past seven years, the couple has worked hard to keep their son’s memory alive by raising about $565,000 to date through the Logan P. Graves Foundation. Most of the money is raised through the foundation’s annual local golf tournament and auction, though this year it also raised about $4,500 by raffling off a children’s playhouse.
When the Graveses created the foundation, their goal was to raise $250,000 in 10 years. They have far exceeded that goal, but have no intention of slowing down.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Bob Graves said Tuesday of setting the initial goal. “We didn’t want to go to the well too many times. But this has become so successful. We’ve had people contact us with a desire to donate and see what they could do to help us out. This has really taken on an identity all its own.”
Graves pointed out that the foundation’s annual Father’s Day golf tournament has a full field of golfers every year and that the foundation’s statewide sponsors have been extremely dedicated. He said, though, that some of the most meaningful donations over the years have been from local people.
“We have so many people who send us $5, $10 or $20 and they do it because of Logan. They want to help keep Logan’s memory alive,” Graves said. “We got a card from a woman who sent us $3 and it was such an amazing thing because maybe that was the only money she had to spare but she was willing to give it to us.”
The Graveses have given most of the money they’ve raised to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program; any leftover money has gone to other charitable organizations that support children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Last year, the foundation granted two wishes on behalf of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and sponsored three families at Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Casco.
“People know that whatever money they give, 100 percent of it goes back out to help kids,” Graves said. “The amount of involvement we’ve received, the support has been very touching for Lynne and I.”