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Dipsy Doodle hosting benefit for local woman battling cancer

Shown with a big smile as she served up ice cream at Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar in Northfield this summer, Stacey Collins is now fighting a second battle with cancer. To help ease her financial burden, owners Judy and Jonathan Dupuis will be donating all proceeds from meals and other specials being offered on their Oct. 9 closing day to Collins. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
September 28, 2011
NORTHFIELD — As Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar brings its 2011 season to a close, owners Judy and Jonathan Dupuis will once again be donating money from their final day of operation to a good cause — this time, one very near and dear to their hearts.

Dubbed "Stacey's Day" in honor of employee Stacey Collins, Oct. 9 will be a gala of food and music for customers who stop by the Northfield eatery, with proceeds from the day going to Collins, who is currently fighting her second battle with cancer in three years.

"Stacey's a really great person who's worked part-time for us for the past four years. It's unbelievable, the attitude and inspiration she exudes. She'd do the same for us, and we just really want to help her through this," said Judy Dupuis.

In 2008, Collins was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and underwent treatment at the Payson Center for Cancer Care at Concord Hospital. After a couple of years of healthy check-ups, she suddenly found herself facing chemotherapy once again, this time for lung cancer.

"Some doctors say it's from the first cancer, and others say it isn't. It depends on who I'm talking to, but thank God for check-ups, which is how this was found early. They're so important, and now I know why," said Collins.

A resident of Northfield, Collins also works full time in the personnel office at Wal-mart. She said she is grateful to her employer, who has allowed her to adjust her hours so she could continue to work through her current treatment. Collins arrives at work at 6 a.m. each day, then leaves at 3 p.m. for the drive to Concord. After receiving her daily dose of chemotherapy, she heads home to rest before getting up to do it all again.

"I have insurance from work, but we have a high deductible, and I'm still paying bills from the first cancer, so this is really, really sweet of them to do this for me. It's really kind of overwhelming," Collins said.

Besides the deductible, there are incidentals that aren't covered by insurance, as well as the expense of traveling each day for seven weeks of treatment, which is exhausting in itself. Despite feeling tired from the medications and the nausea they cause, Collins has only missed two weeks of work. At that time, her white blood cell counts dipped so low she could not be around other people, due to the high risk of picking up any other infections her body would not be able to fight. With just a couple of more weeks to complete her treatment, she said she feels good and remains optimistic about the future.

"I have a life to live, and I want to live it, so I just put my head down and charge through it all. I have grandchildren coming one day who I want to meet. I've got to be here for them," Collins said.

To help ease the burden, Dipsy Doodle will open their freezers and offer up all sorts of delicious specials for the day. Donation jars will be set up around the restaurant, both inside and outside, at the picnic area. In case of inclement weather, tents will be set up to cover the grounds of the restaurant. Disc Jockey Chris Conlon will be playing music for the diners to enjoy and from 2-3 p.m. guitarist Jimmy Sykes will perform. There will also be Doodle Pops for $1.50, with all sales going to the fund. Dupuis said she hopes to see a huge crowd that day in support of Collins.

"The financial burden this has created is something she should not have to bear. Though the donations won't make her better, perhaps we can ease her worries a little," Dupuis said in a written statement.

"Stacey Day" will be held Saturday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. until closing. Until then, Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar will be open weekdays from 3-8 p.m. (closed Thursdays), and from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekends. They are located at 143 Park St. in Northfield, across from The Pines.

Varney Smith
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