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Growing Competition for Funding Forces KYMMA to Disband

Plymouth Record Enterprise

Reprinted from Plymouth Record Enterprise

March 29, 2018 - Page A1 and A19

By Donna Rhodes (drhodes@salmonpress.com):

PLYMOUTH - The nonprofit group Keeping You, Me and Memories Alive (KYMMA) announced recently that after 20 years of helping those battling cancer and honoring the memories of those who are lost to the disease, they were disbanding the organization, effective March 22.

"This has been a painstaking decision for all of us, but we find peace and take great pride in knowing that through all these years we have been able tube gift approximately $250,000 by assisting hundreds of individuals and their families with the daily essentials of groceries, gas cards, heating fuel, medications, and so much more," the board wrote in their final newsletter.

KYMMA's primary fundraiser over the years was "A Day To Fight Cancer." The event began in 1999 through the efforts of Plymouth State University student Melissa Merrill who lost her mother to breast cancer. In cooperation with the PSU community, Merrill helped found KYMMA that year to provide assistance for local residents facing the many challenges brought on by a diagnosis of cancer. In time the group also began awarding scholarship money to Plymouth Regional High School and PSU students who submitted winning essays on how cancer had changed their lives.

President Kathryn Melanson said it was a tough decision for the board, but funds had run out and they had been experiencing dwindling support with so many other groups seeking to raise money, too.

"It also takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to do the fundraising, and many of us just don't have that time now," she said.

Over the years, they did, however, receive a lot of support from not only adults but children in the Pemi-Baker communities. Melanson said Ashland Elementary School was especially supportive through donations they gathered each year to honor the memory of a beloved staff member who was lost to cancer.

Last year, Holderness Central School students and staff had a competition to see which of them could raise the most money for KYMMA, and Plymouth Elementary School boys and girls held annual Dafodill Days as their own fundraiser for the group.

"I hope the kids can keep things like that going. There's still plenty of great organizations out there that need help," Melanson said.

She and her fellow board members wanted to thank everyone who has been a part of KYMMA over the past 20 years, whether they were sponsors, event participants, donors or one of the many cancer patients they were able to assist.

"As our last farewell, we encourage you to continue on with our motto of 'Neighbors Helping Neighbors.' It really can go a long way and mean so much to so many," the board said.


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