Fundraiser on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall
By Gayelynn Noonan
Cruising down the Information Highway doesn’t always get you where you want to go. That’s what Marlene Dickey quickly found out when trying to organize her 30-plus trips off Orcas Island to the Cancer Care Center in Skagit Valley.
It is also the reason why Marlene, along with her committee, now dubbed, Team Tata’s, has organized two fun-filled evenings at the Odd Fellow’s Hall. Dance the night away on Friday, March 22nd, 7:00-10:00 p.m. and be prepared to be titillated with dance, music, art, all with the goal of raising funds for islanders that need financial help for ferry tickets to get to those lifesaving medical appointments.
Many of us here on Orcas know the energetic, effervescent, and always entertaining Marlene Dickey: a farm girl from the Columbia Gorge, who has had her feet planted here on Orcas for the past 32 years. But, what many do not know is that for the last seven months she has been through mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, surgery, post-surgery care, and all of these have taken her off island.
“Trips off the island became all about referrals, tests, procedures, finances and where to apply for them” says Marlene. “I’ve studied my whole life for this — good attitude, humor, creativity, alternative healthcare, herbology have been my passion, and have helped me through the last few months, but more importantly I have an amazing tribe of old and new friends that became my support system.”
Marlene was traveling 3 or 4 times a week to the Mainland and was exhausted physically and financially, she needed some help, if only to defer some of the expense of the ferry tickets. Marlene tells us that, “When you’re in the midst of treatment, overwhelmed, any reduction of stress is valuable, and the cost of ferry tickets is a huge stressor for many.”
What do many of us do when we need information to get help? Google it of course. The query seems simple enough. Need financial help for transportation to Doctor’s appointment. However, the answers, Need cash? $800-10,000? Pay it back in months, not weeks. How to MAKE MONEY by giving someone a RIDE. The MONEY DOCTOR. Not very helpful. Now, Google Marlene Dickey, you won’t find her there, but over the last 7 months of traveling back and forth to the Mainland, Marlene has gained a lot of knowledge that she enthusiastically shares with anyone who will listen.
Marlene is on a mission to make sure that anyone who needs assistance will easily be able to have the right information, and the financial help with ferry tickets. Some transportation funding is currently available for people in DSHS programs or on Medicaid, however this new fund will help supplement people who might otherwise not qualify and “fall through the cracks”.
She reached out for help on how to bridge some of the gaps in our support system and what Marlene calls, “the missing link,” answered. Orcas Family Connections Resource Center has stepped up to partner with Marlene and her committee and have become the umbrella organization to help facilitate this effort.
It seems that sometimes you may need to jump off that information highway and turn to your friends and neighbors to get the right answers. Please join in on this inaugural fundraising effort and help Marlene Dickey with her new passion — getting invaluable information out to the community, and making sure there are ferry tickets waiting for anyone in need.