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The Connecticut Challenge, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) public charity founded to empower cancer survivors to live longer, happier, healthier lives, by creating and funding unique survivorship programs, offering credible resources, and building a community of support.
It started with two friends. Jeff Keith is a pediatric cancer survivor, athlete and long-time fundraiser for cancer research. John Ragland is a serious cyclist and business entrepreneur.
In January, 2005, Jeff had visited the David B. Perini Quality of Life Clinic at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston – a clinic for pediatric cancer survivors – and felt strongly that adult cancer survivors needed access to the same type of resource in Connecticut. He approached, Dr. Richard Edelson, Director of Yale Cancer Center, with the proposition to fund a survivorship clinic at the newly planned Yale Cancer Center facility in New Haven. Dr. Edelson and his colleagues at Yale were very enthusiastic about the concept and signed on.
Jeff and John then sat down in April 2005 to create the organization and the event that would become the Connecticut Challenge. Thousands of volunteer hours later the first Connecticut Challenge took place on August 28th, 2005. All participants involved were unanimous in their praise and their pledges of continued support for the event.
The vision of the Connecticut Challenge has expanded since 2005. Now, instead of expecting cancer survivors to travel to one location, the CT Challenge supports hospitals and community organizations across the state through the CT Challenge Survivorship Network so that survivors can receive the unique care they need right in their local community. Last year over 38,000 cancer survivors were impacted by CT Challenge programs.
In 2010 the decision was made to move beyond funding programs entirely through hospital partners and in 2011 the CT Challlenge broke ground on the Center for Survivorship, the first standalone survivorship program of its kind in the country.
After two years of planning and construction, the Center opened to accolades in October 2012. Located in Southport, CT, at 250 Pequot Avenue, the Center offers survivors and their supporters research based programs in exercise, nutrition and psychosocial support that empower them to live healthier, happier lives. The Center is also piloting a research based 12-week Wellness Program for cancer survivors, developed in partnership with experts in survivorship from UCONN and Yale University.
For more information on the programs we fund and our impact on survivors, click here to visit our ctchallenge.org website.