Over the past three years, Tim Dean of rural Mitchell has supported the Festival of Hope with $200,000 of funding through the Carol A. Fuller Charitable Foundation.
As the foundation executor, Dean said Carol Fuller was his father’s younger sister. Fuller and her husband were prominent entrepreneurs in the Denver area.
“They never had children, but their motto was always ‘take a little, leave a little’ and not to be greedy,” Dean said. “They did very well. They brought the first two super malls to Denver and helped develop much of East Colfax and Havana Streets.”
In 2008, Dean moved to Denver to take care of his aunt, who had developed cancer. When she passed away in 2016, Dean established the charitable foundation that bears her name.
“This is for her legacy to live on because she donated millions to charitable causes I never knew about,” Tim said. “I’m just carrying on her tradition. I help people and animals and I couldn’t ask for a better job.”
Beating many of today’s formidable diseases takes money in research and developing a treatment. Diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are all on Dean’s list of support.
In 2018, Dean donated $50,000 to Festival of Hope in their mission to help with non-medical expenses for families of those who are undergoing cancer treatment.
Last year, another $100,000 came in. And for 2020, another $50,000 was added, although this year’s Festival of Hope will be different from the 17 previous events.
Dr. Vince Bjorling, an oncologist who helped organize the Festival of Hope in 2003, said this year’s activities will be online in order to observe health and safety protocols for the COVID-19 virus.
The festival, held at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds Events Center in Mitchell, in the past would include a walk/run, music, food trucks, vendors’ booths, a pancake breakfast and a butterfly release in honor of those who were diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s a lot to bring together with the uncertainty of knowing whether people and businesses will be able to donate,” Bjorling said. “We hope that later this year, people will be able to come together for a walk/run.”
Since 2003, Festival of Hope has raised more than $3 million to help families dealing with cancer. Some of the funding also goes toward cancer research at the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado. They also help fund specialized educational opportunities for professionals working with cancer patients.
Barb Martindale was a founding member of Festival of Hope and still serves on the board. She said it’s important to her that all the funds raised stay in the local area.
“What puts a real smile on my face is to see people we’ve helped in the past come back to support us once they’re back on their feet,” Bjorling said. “It’s a real sense of recovery for them as they pay it forward.”