A community effort has raised almost $30,000 to support the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer.

Leaders of the Family and Friends Campaign gathered Feb. 8 at the Samuel L. Wagner Middle School in Winterport to officially close the campaign and to announce that the group had exceeded its goal by nearly $5,000.

The campaign was first kicked off in August 2009 with an ice cream social at the home of Rep. Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport. He serves as campaign co-chair.

With $5,000 raised at that event, the campaign just took off.

“As the mercury plummeted, the generosity seemed to rise,” Thibodeau said.

Students from the Wagner school and Leroy H. Smith School, also in Winterport, raised more than $1,000 for the cancer center through a Canes for the Cure campaign at the middle school and a penny drive at the elementary school.

“This was a community effort ,and it really and truly paid off,” said Winterport resident and campaign co-chair Joe Brooks.

The Student Council at Wagner School chooses one community service project each month, and in December the students held a Canes for the Cure fundraiser.

Student Council President Aaron Newland said the fundraiser far surpassed his expectations.

“It’s amazing the amount of money raised from a small town,” Newland said.

The Family and Friends Campaign also worked in association with the Winterport Woman’s Club, which is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, an international organization. The Winterport Fire and Rescue Association and local Girl Scout groups also joined in the effort, as well as Winterport businesses and individuals.

“Parents helped and you helped in a big, big way and we thank you,” Chris Cox, of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, told the students.

Winterport will have a sign placed in its honor at the cancer center to recognize the donation.

The Lafayette Family Cancer Center, a part of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems’ CancerCare of Maine Program, opened its doors in December.

The Republican Journal Reporter Kim Lincoln can be reached at klincoln@villagesoup.com or by phone at 338-3333.