Stampede’ returns to Bristol this weekend
BRISTOL — Organizers of Bristol’s annual Three Day Stampede, a fund-raiser for cystic fibrosis research, announced a few weeks ago that they’ve raised over $1 million in their 20 years of fund-raising.
But that doesn’t mean they’re going to let up on their efforts. This year’s event kicks off Friday at 8 a.m. and will last until Sunday evening.
“All the milestones we go by are great, but we’re focused on trying to make every year spectacular,” said Bonita Bedard, who founded the event with her husband, David, after their granddaughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, the most common genetic disease among children.
This weekend’s Three Day Stampede will include all the favorite events that have made the fund-raiser popular for two decades. Highlights include the lawn sale, which will begin at 8 a.m. all three days; a dance Saturday night at the American Legion hall in Bristol; and Sunday morning’s 5 K race and walk-a-thon.
Of all the weekend’s 13 events, Bedard says the lawn sale draws the most people every year — 20 tents full of donated items will be set up on the Bristol Recreational Field, and most tents will charge $10 for a grocery bag full of things like clothes and stuffed animals.
The weekend-long silent action has also been a big fund-raiser over the years, and this weekend, a wide range of items — ranging from a used car to a septic pump — will be up for grabs.
“Donations have been great,” said Bedard. “It’s indicative of the community we live in. Even in these tough economic times, businesses step up and help in a million different ways.”
Bedard added that the volunteer support from the community has also been impressive.
“We have at least 100 volunteers that work hard to squeeze every dime and penny out of what we have so that we can reach the kind of totals that we hit,” she said.
Bedard’s granddaughter Kayla is now 21 and lives a healthy, athletic life. She is not alone — currently, there are more than 30,000 people living in the United States with the cystic fibrosis, and one-fourth of them are adults, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
These statistics come as a result of major breakthroughs in research. In the 1950s, the life expectancy of infants with the condition was six months. Now the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation says it’s close to 37 years.
“When we started fund-raising, we wanted to affect research and now they’ve come light years,” said Bedard. “It’s a really fun event and it’s uplifting.”
For a complete event schedule and more information on cystic fibrosis, visit www.threedaystampede.org.
Reporter George Altshuler is at [email protected].