Former Wimborne schoolboy-turned American businessman Steven Blonstein, has announced plans to make a six figure donation to help local people suffering with cancer.
Mr Blonstein, 53, will be making the yet to be confirmed donation – which could be up to a quarter of a million pounds – to the Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF), which provides financial assistance to cancer sufferers, cancer groups, organisations and hospitals based inside the county.
Father-of-three Mr Blonstein, retired from the high tech industry and now operates a large flying club in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
But between the ages of 11 and 18, he and his family lived in Wimborne and he attended Hardy’s Grammar School in Dorchester.
At the age of 22, Mr Blonstein moved to America, but retained fond memories of Dorset.
In 2012 Mr Blonstein’s aunt, Betty Hyams, from London, passed away, leaving Steven and his sister Anne money in her will.
His aunt stated that should either beneficiary have passed away from cancer prior to herself, their share should be awarded to a cancer-based charity.
As Mr Blonstein’s sister Anne had already passed away from cancer, he began to search the internet for a local charity to support and found the Dorset Cancer Care Foundation (DCCF).
On Sunday (October 26), Mr Blonstein attended a DCCF fundraising coffee morning at Compton Acres in Poole, where he unveiled details of his generous donation, which will be known as The Betty Hyams Memorial Award.
He said: “The details of my aunt’s will are yet to be finalised, so I cannot give an exact figure, but we can be sure that the charity will receive a significant, six-figure donation.
“I chose DCCF because it is relatively new, but focused on the Dorset area and I feel that by making a contribution to a small organisation like DCCF, the money will actually be making a bigger impact in Dorset than if I had donated to a larger national charity.”
He continued: “The charity’s trustees have been fantastic since I first made contact over a year ago.
“I want my aunt’s money to really help cancer sufferers and their families and I am pleased it will be doing so by providing some of the things they really need, like transportation, places to stay when they are receiving treatment and even hospice beds.
“I am particularly focused on helping young patients, from children to young adults and I think my aunt and my sister would have been very pleased with my choice.”
The Dorset Cancer Care Foundation was set up in 2012, by Leslie May Harrison, Pam Jeffries and Eve Went to provide help for local people affected by cancer.
Funding is provided to individuals for everything from travel expenses to and from hospital, to wigs and prostheses and counselling.
Awards totalling £23,000 have been made since the charity launched and have also included £11,500 to Poole Cancer Clinic, for new breast cancer screening equipment.
The Lewis-Manning Hospice in Poole recently received £2000 from the DCCF to pay for new gym equipment.
Maria Tidy, fundraising manager for the hospice, was at a recent DCCF charity coffee morning to hear about Steve Blonstein’s donation.
She said: “I cannot speak highly enough of the DCCF and its work in supporting local people. They have been very generous to the hospice and I am delighted they will be able to help even more people thanks to Steve.”
DCCF Chairman, Pam Jeffries said: “There are so many people in Dorset who need financial help when suffering from cancer.
“Many patients require radiotherapy as part of their treatment, and the only facility in our large county is on the eastern edge at Poole Hospital. Therefore patients, many elderly, and often recovering from surgery, have to travel from all corners of the county five days a week for up to six weeks.
“We heard of one lady from Portland who had to take three buses each way to attend the hospital daily, it took nearly all day for 10 minutes treatment.
“Our work requires constant and tireless fundraising. Steve’s wonderful donation will make a world of difference to a number of local cancer patients and their families and we hope it will also encourage other people to support the charity.”
Around 28 per cent of all deaths in Dorset are from cancer, and older adults are at greater risk.
The overall incidence of cancer is higher in Dorset than in the rest of the country due to the size of the over 50 population.
However, the survival rates are higher than other counties.
For more information about DCCF, to donate and to find out about fundraising, visit: www.dccf.co.uk