Stampede raises more than $100,000

BRISTOL — Rainy weather on July 26 threatened the success of this year’s Three Day Stampede, Bristol’s annual major event to raise money to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, but the rain cleared up for the start of Friday’s lawn sale and stayed clear through the weekend, allowing organizers to raise more than $100,000 to fight the disease.
Organizer Bonita Bedard said that amount was on par with 2011, and she was thrilled with this year’s turnout, despite the worries about the weather.
“Thank goodness for the weather,” said Bedard. “We had a wonderful turnout and support this year. I cannot thank the community enough for their continuous support each year.”
After 22 years of hard work and dedication, the Three-Day Stampede is now well past the $1 million mark in total money raised as part of their efforts to find the cure for cystic fibrosis.
Over the past 21 years, Bedard and her team of volunteers have supported the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with $1,193,000, not including this year’s take, according to their website.
The current $100,000 estimate for this year’s proceeds will continue to grow as organizers tally up the amount from the silent auction. The total funds raised to date will be announced in the coming weeks.
While the amount of money raised is on par with 2011, Bedard said there appeared to be more shoppers and volunteers this year. She is consistently amazed with volunteers’ dedication and their ability to keep the event running smoothly. Many of the long-term volunteers take their vacation to help out with the annual event.
Additionally, the event saw high participation in the annual 5-kilometer road race. A part of the Stampede program for the last 5 years, Bedard said that nearly two times as many people signed up to compete in this year’s race.
Bedard acknowledged that while the event is a big task each year, the community has adopted the event, and it has become larger than she had ever expected.
“The event is always a big undertaking,” said Bedard. “The Stampede has its own life force. It belongs to the community.”
Due to the always-expanding size of the event, Bedard and her team are seemingly always preparing for the Three-Day Stampede or dealing with its aftermath. Currently, they are waiting for the last people to pick up silent auction items and prizes. Additionally, the team will debrief to determine what went well and what needs improvement each year to the slate of events.
Finding a cure for cystic fibrosis is not only a community cause but is also one to which Bedard and her family feel a strong personal connection. One of Bedard’s twin granddaughters was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis on the day she was born. Bedard and her husband David began the stampede as a way to combat the disease.
Ninety cents of each dollar raised during the Stampede goes directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to fund programs and research. Thanks to donations from the Stampede and other fundraisers of its kind, the foundation has made great breakthroughs in their research. In the past year, the foundation has invested in drug development research to target the disease from every angle and now has more than 30 drugs in development or already in use.
Bedard explained that the day her granddaughter Kayla was born 23 years ago was the same day the defective gene was isolated in the human genome. Bedard said that in that time research has come a long way and a cure is now in sight.
“The foundation has made huge strides in my granddaughter’s lifetime,” said Bedard. “A cure isn’t coming fast enough for anyone, but it is coming more quickly than we imagined.”

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