‘Stampede’ tops $1M for CF research

BRISTOL — July in Bristol isn’t complete without the 5-kilometer race, country music radio and silent auction of the Three Day Stampede.
Over the past 17 years, the Stampede, which is an annual weekend fund-raiser for cystic fibrosis research, has raised over $1 million.
This year’s Stampede occurred last weekend, and aside from a few new sights and sounds — like the hum of 20 motorcycles from the Red Knights group, which donated $1,000 — the Stampede was successful as a result of its traditional fund-raisers.
“The way we’ve been doing things works really well,” said Bonita Bedard, a Stampede co-founder and organizer. “We were thrilled with how the weekend went.”
So far, this weekend’s Stampede has raised $93,000, according to Bedard, and some sponsors have yet to submit their donations.
Stampede organizers will donate all of this money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a national non-profit that funds research and treatment of the genetic disease, which causes severe lung problems and other symptoms.
While cystic fibrosis is still the most common genetic disease among American infants, research and treatment efforts have increased the life expectancy of people with the disease from six months in the 1950s to close to 37 years today.
Bedard began fund-raising for cystic fibrosis research with her husband David Bedard after their granddaughter Kayla was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Kayla is now in her twenties, living an active and healthy life.
The Bedards held their first fund-raising event, a walk-a-thon, soon after their granddaughter’s diagnosis. They raised a few thousand dollars.
Last year’s Three Day Stampede raised over $100,000 and this weekend’s offered 13 different events.
The silent auction was especially successful this year, with the most items up for grabs the event has ever had, including a bat signed by Kevin Youkilis, a septic system installation, and a used car.
The stampede now has over 100 volunteers, and these days, Bedard has to work nearly year-round to organize the event.
With the recreational field in Bristol to clean up and lots of equipment to return, closing down this year’s event will take another month. Bedard is also working on a new food order, and come January she’ll start reaching out to sponsors for next year’s Stampede, which will take place July 29 – 31.
“We’re getting better at this all the time,” she said, reflecting on how much the organization has raised in its two decades. “Bristol, Vermont. How amazing is that.”
Reporter George Altshuler is at [email protected].

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