Dining for donations: Dipsy Doodle helps one of its own



STACEYDAY
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Stacey Collins (center, right) was surrounded by family, friends and coworkers last Sunday as Dining for Donations: Stacey Day closed out the 2011 season for the Northfield restaurant. Owners Judy Dupuis (right of Collins), Robert Pearlman (behind Collins) and Jonathan Dupuis (absent from photo) donated all proceeds from the day to help Collins as she battles cancer for the second time in three years. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
October 12, 2011
NORTHFIELD — Clear skies and unseasonably warm temperatures reigned over Northfield last Sunday as regular patrons of the Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar and other caring citizens flocked to the popular eatery for their last day of the season, with all proceeds designated for Stacey Collins to aide in her battle with cancer.

Collins was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2008, and recently found out she now faces lung cancer. For more than seven weeks, she has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment in Concord while maintaining her full time office job in the Tilton Walmart. Over the summer, she also worked part time at the dairy bar, where she was popular with both staff and customers.

Collins, who is still struggling with bills from her first treatments, is now facing new medical expenses. Despite having insurance, her own out-of-pocket expenses for things not covered under the plan continue to mount.

Each fall, Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar has donated proceeds from their closing day to a local cause. This year, co-owners Jonathan and Judy Dupuis and Robert Pearlman decided to call the event Dining for Donations: Stacey Day.

"All the money we make today will go to Stacey. We just want to clear the freezers and do what we can to help he,r as well," said Judy Dupuis.

Specials on Sunday were whole clams, haddock bites, bison burgers and oysters. And of course, there was plenty of ice cream and Doodle Pops. Dupuis said business was brisk throughout the day, and as her husband prepared meals for the customers, she and Pearlman took time to greet customers and thank them for their support.

"There's been a phenomenal crowd all day. People have just been rolling off the road to stop in for lunch or ice cream, and to make a donation," said Pearlman.

Jim Stykes entertained the crowd with his guitar while residents relaxed at picnic benches to socialize and enjoy the last taste of summer.

A popular face in the crowd was Collins herself, who stopped in after working all morning. She said she was totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

"This is what I love about living in a small town," Collins said. "It's just been amazing to see the faces of all of my friends, and so many people I know here in Northfield, even if I only recognize their face. I can't believe it. I'm very grateful."

Joining her for the afternoon were family members and close friends who came to chat and enjoy ice cream sundaes or other treats.

Jugs placed on the counters also overflowed with money to add to the day's tally, and on the pavement before the take-out window, a few children took time to voice their support, as well. "I love Stacey" was scrawled in colored chalk, touching the hearts of many who saw their artwork.

By 4 p.m., the specials and hot foods were sold out, but customers continued to stop for Doodle Pops and other frozen treats, emptying the restaurant for the winter and donating toward the cause.

"It's been a great year. We have so many friends here and it's just amazing to see everyone come out to help Stacey like this," said Pearlman. "I'm just so glad Judy, Jonathan and I could do this. We want to say thanks to everyone and look forward to seeing them all next year."

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