North Yarmouth to hold fundraiser to battle rare cancer

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Watching a rare form of cancer take the lives of three people she knew well prompted Debbie Grover to do what she could to spread the word about early detection.

The assistant town manager’s latest effort to battle NET cancer comes in the form of a Hunters Breakfast fundraiser, sponsored by the North Yarmouth Fire Company. The event will be held at the fire station, 463 Walnut Hill Road, from 5-9 a.m., Oct. 28.

NET is short for neuroendocrine tumors, an unusual cancer that develops from cells in the endocrine system, according to netcancerday.org. The growths are usually found in the lung or gastrointestinal system, but can also appear in areas such as the pancreas, testes and ovaries.

Grover’s husband lost his first wife, Susan Taylor Grover, to NET cancer a decade ago at the age of 41, nine months after she was diagnosed. She was told she was only the 113th person in the country with the disease.

The disease took former North Yarmouth Town Manager Marnie Diffin last August, at 62, three months after she was diagnosed.

Finally, firefighter Brandon Thibeau succumbed to the cancer in February at age 22, two years into his battle.

“You’ve just got to do something to get the word out there,” Grover said in an interview Monday, referring to the slogan, “If you don’t suspect it, you can’t detect it.”

She would like to raise $1,000 from next weekend’s breakfast, an effort with which several others are helping. Proceeds go toward the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation, more information about which can be found at netrf.org.

Diners can donate whatever they wish for each plate. Pancakes, sausage, home fries, scrambled eggs, coffee and juice are among the offerings, and door prizes will be given away as well.

The event is being held in advance of NET Cancer Day, which is Friday, Nov. 10.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.