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Local Family Makes Heartfelt Donation to Benefit the Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of Day Kimball Healthcare

September 3, 2021

The Solomon family has donated $1,500 to the Northeast Connecticut (NECT) Cancer Fund of Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) in memory of the life of their family member and DKH’s 2018 NECT Cancer Fund Walk & Race Angel Ambassador, Shannon Labonte.

The Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of DKH provides financial assistance to more than 200 neighbors in need each year. Assistance is used to help pay for cancer-related screening and treatment services to individuals living in Northeast Connecticut who otherwise may not have the financial resources to access needed medical care.

Coinciding with what was an annual walk and race to benefit the fund for over 30 years, the DKH Walk & Race Committee traditionally selected a local cancer survivor whose story embodies the fight against cancer and the importance of supporting local, high-quality cancer care to serve as the annual event’s honorary ambassador. Labonte, a Danielson resident, was chosen to serve as the 2018 honorary ambassador. She battled a rare cancer with courage, grace and a positive spirit until she passed away on April 27, 2018.

Since Labonte’s passing, the Solomon family and friends have organized various fundraisers to benefit the Shannon Lee Labonte Scholarship Fund at Putnam High School and other causes that she held close at heart to honor her memory and fulfill her goal of supporting access to high quality local cancer care.

In June 2021, the Solomon family held a book sale, basket raffle, and craft fair at the Putnam Congregational Church. Proceeds from the event were distributed to the Shannon Lee Labonte Memorial Scholarship, the Putnam Congregational Church, the Putnam Public Library toward the creation of a mural in their relocated space within the town’s newly constructed community center, and the NECT Cancer Fund of DKH.

“We are so grateful to the Solomon family for their generosity,” said Kristen Willis, director of development, Day Kimball Healthcare. “Shannon was such a special person and the fighting spirit with which she faced her cancer was a true inspiration. With this donation, they not only honor such a beloved individual, they also give those in our community who are battling cancer hope and courage.”

The Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of DKH depends on the support and philanthropy of families like the Solomon’s and people in the community it serves. Through charitable contributions of local businesses, community members, and various philanthropic events, more than $1.3 million has been raised for the Fund since its inception in 1989. For more information about the NECT Cancer Fund of DKH and cancer care services at Day Kimball Healthcare, visit www.daykimball.org/cancercare.

PHOTO CAPTION: (left to right): Shawn Toussaint, Shannon’s cousin; Bettye Jo Pakulis, Shannon’s aunt; Linda Pacheco, Shannon’s aunt; Ann Russo, Shannon’s aunt; Zoe Labonte, Shannon’s daughter; Roberta Solomon, Shannon’s mother; JoAnn Labonte, Shannon’s mother-in-law; Kristen Willis, director of development, Day Kimball Healthcare at the Deary Memorial Recognition Garden, located on the grounds of DKH’s Schneider Center at 309 Pomfret Street across from the Day Kimball Hospital campus. The garden was created by members of the Deary family in 2007 to memorialize, honor, and recognize cancer survivors and loved ones lost to cancer.

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