Marla Ceely Lamb was a woman born and raised on Nantucket who died from breast cancer in 1992 at the age of 42, leaving her husband and two children, as well as her parents, siblings, and many family members and friends. During the last weeks of her life, she and her family thought of the idea of setting up a special fund in her memory that would help other people who needed to travel off-island for cancer treatment.

Since Marla was a patient of Hospice Care of Nantucket (now Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket) she and her family asked if we could help develop and administer such a fund. Our board agreed to do so and set up the framework whereby it would administer the fund and Marla’s family would be responsible for fundraising if the fund were to continue in future years. Over the years, hundreds of patients have benefited.

To further help meet the needs of patients, Cape Air, Island Air, Hy-Line Cruises, and, more recently, the Steamship Authority have provided discounted tickets, and many island businesses and community members have donated to keep the fund available. Since 2010 Quidley & Company and Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank have sponsored an annual Mystery Art Show over Christmas Stroll weekend to raise money for the fund. No administrative fees have been charged to the fund by Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket Foundation despite extensive time involved, so that all money donated goes directly to patients.

This has been an outstanding example of community members working together to help their fellow community members.

Funded by the Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket Foundation, the Palliative & Supportive Care Program is operated as a department of the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, and a member of Partners HealthCare. Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket is a specialized health care program dedicated to providing excellent physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care to persons with life-threatening illness and their families.

A Partnership in Caring

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