By Tammy Daniels
04:07AM / Monday, October 24, 2016
Jessica and Nicholas Dabrowski and their daughter, Jordan. Jessica was diagnosed with an uncommon form of blood myeloma five years ago and within days learned she was pregnant. The couple has made it through with support from the community, including help from PopCares.
ADAMS, Mass. — It was a tough Wednesday about a year ago for Jessica and Nicholas Dabrowski.
They were struggling with work, taking care of their young daughter, Jordan, and the resurfacing of Jessica's cancer. There was chemotherapy at Berkshire Medical Center and visits to Massachusetts General Hospital, while both were working full time or more at stressful jobs.
It was a day when they'd felt defeated, until Nick found an envelope in the mailbox.
"Inside the envelope was a simple card that said 'you are in our thoughts, PopCares,'" Jessica read to the packed dining room at Bounti-Fare on Saturday night. It also contained two gas gift cards and a check. "This random act of kindness came on just the right day and touched both of our hearts."
Created in honor of the late William "Pop" St. Pierre by his family nearly four years ago, PopCares has disbursed some $175,000 to more than 400 people in North Berkshire just like the Dabrowskis, helping them with the day-to-day items and acts of kindness so they can focus on getting better.
Some 295 tickets alone were sold to Saturday's annual dinner, one of the nonprofit's biggest fundraisers, which seems poised to blow past last year's $18,000 raised.
"We wanted to do something in his honor," said St. Pierre's son Bob, in explaining PopCares' creation. "We came up with this crazy plan to raise money to help local families battling cancer."
A lot of hands went up when Tammy St. Pierre asked for those who had been affected by cancer.
"Cancer has an incredible way of sneaking into your life and completely overtaking it because it's all about doctor visits treatments, bills that keep adding up because of of it," she said, speaking of her own diagnosis 13 years ago. "The fears and worries never seem to go away."
She remembered how her father-in-law continued to do for himself as much as possible as he, too, battled the disease.
"He always had kind words, a helping hand, or really bad jokes to tell ... he always had a smile on his face and love in his heart. The words 'I can't' were not in his vocabulary."
PopCares has quickly established itself as a major charity in North Berkshire in support of families and individuals suffering from cancer. It offers funds to help with such things as groceries, lodging, gas and utilities as well as "random acts" to
Bob St. Pierre said a cancer patient had come up to him at a recent event to say he had received a check from the charity just that week.
"He had given up ... there was no money coming in for food and necessities," he said. "This man's few kind words has given us the strength to reach our goal to help every family in this community battling cancer. Keep in mind that every penny you spend tonight will go to someone battling this awful disease."
That spending included a chinese auction with donated items and services, a 50/50 that raised more than $600, a silent auction, a live auction that included a number of unique furniture pieces by Michael St. Pierre, and a raffle for desserts that saw platters of cookies going for $30 to $50 and a basket of whoopie pies that went for a cool $100.
The St. Pierre said the community and local businesses play a large role in PopCares success, ticking off a number of fund drives and contributions. PopCare also presented Community Partner Awards to individuals and businesses that have supported the charity:
• Adams Community Bank, accepted by President Charlie O'Brien, for this year alone having donated some $25,000 to PopCares and Moments House among its many other contributions.
• Caleb and Becky Miner "for giving back to the community that they love." Among their many community efforts the annual Zumba Dancing in the Streets in North Adams that this year raised $5,500 for the charity.
• David Nicholas, owner of Bounti-Fare, was recognized with an award as a business owner who has gone above and beyond showing that loving caring and kindness still exists right here today..
In special presentation, Dolores St. Pierre was presented with a quilt made Diane Morrissey and Nancy Rumboldt. Patricia Mancuso said the quilt was being given to "somebody who is very appreciated by everyone and without her the St. Pierre family — Mike and Bill and Bob and Cindy and Pop from Heaven — would not be here. This is for Dolores for everything that has happened for PopCares."