Stampede canceled again this year
BRISTOL — Out of an abundance of caution, organizers of the Three Day Stampede Towards the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis have canceled the annual summer event for 2021.
“Last year when we had to cancel the Stampede, we were so sure that by this year we would be able to have (it) the last week in July as we have in the past 30 years,” organizer and founder Bonita Bedard wrote in a community email. But “in conversations with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Hall Communication and watching the pandemic news locally, statewide, nationwide and worldwide, it is clear that we cannot be confident that we can have the Stampede safely this year.”
The Stampede was founded in 1989 when Bedard’s granddaughter Kayla was born with cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the lungs and/or digestive system of more than 30,000 people in the United States alone.
Since then the annual three-day lawn sales and associated auctions, sponsorships, donations and fundraising events have raised more than $2 million for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, making it the largest grassroots fundraiser in the country.
But this year there were just too many unknowns, organizer Shawna Sherwin told the Independent.
“The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation sponsors us and provides our insurance for the events, and they’re not insuring in-person events through the summer,” she explained.
Cystic Fibrosis affects the breathing, Sherwin pointed out, which, given the dangers of COVID-19, has made the foundation and its supporters extra cautious.
Stampede organizers have discussed the possibility of holding a virtual event of some kind, perhaps a silent auction, but nothing has gone beyond the idea stage at this point, according to Sherwin.
Despite having to deliver the unhappy news, Bedard expressed hope in her announcement.
“You folks have truly made the Stampede possible and you will again,” she wrote. “We have our fingers crossed for 2022 and we will need you all in order to have the best Stampede ever!”
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