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Cancer-support organization Forest Moon closes; Franklin County programs continue

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Forest Moon — a seven-year-old nonprofit that provided free cancer-support programs in western Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire — has closed its doors, citing a lack of necessary fundraising.

Forest Moon’s partner organizations will continue to offer several Franklin County programs — such as “1 in 8: The Torso Project,” “Festive Holiday Cooking,” “Gentle Yoga for Women with Breast Cancer” and “Spirit of the Written Word.”

There will still be a cancer charity at the upcoming 35th annual Bridge of Flowers race in Shelburne Falls as Cancer Connection of Northampton will participate in Forest Moon’s place. And a “Circus for Survivors” will be held in Brattleboro this fall as planned.

But other programs in New Hampshire and Vermont that Forest Moon was running on its own will not be able to continue. The organization’s fundraising efforts did not meet its fiscal needs, said Anne Wibiralske, president of the organization’s board of directors.

“After much deliberation and with deep sorrow, the board of directors has decided to close Forest Moon,” said Wibiralske, in a prepared statement. “While Forest Moon has continued to compete very successfully — and gratefully — for grant support, these grants typically cover direct program costs but not the operational support necessary to maintain our organizational infrastructure. And the current economic climate has resulted in a significant reduction in philanthropic giving.”

Cancer survivors Cindy and Phil Blood founded Forest Moon in 2006. Last year, the organization conducted 23 individual programs over 94 program days — specifically focusing on helping people in the cancer community.

Pam Roberts, program director of Forest Moon, said the organization is grateful for partner organizations that are helping to continue the programs.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s oncology department will continue to offer yoga classes and writing workshops in Greenfield, she said. Baystate Health, through its annual Rays of Hope fundraiser, sponsors both programs but the hospital will now have to do more publicity to promote them.

The “1 in 8: The Torso Project” — where participants met at a Leverett art studio to make and decorate models of human torsos — will continue to offer future workshops. The torsos will be featured as an art display at Greenfield Community College this fall, and Roberts said that the production of an accompanying book is still in the works.

“Festive Holiday Cooking,” which happens in Shutesbury right around Thanksgiving, will also continue.

The Northampton-based Cancer Connection will take over some of the work that Forest Moon has been doing in western Massachusetts, including raising money for cancer programs at the Bridge of Flowers race.

Wibiralske invited Forest Moon supporters to support the cause and attend the event where organizers will “pass the baton” to Cancer Connection. The two organizations have a “shared mission of providing free programming to individuals living with a cancer diagnosis and their family members and friends,” she said.

For more information on how to sign up for the event or support Cancer Connection, call 413-586-1642.

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