A Milford-based non-profit dedicated to providing hope and financial assistance to those coping with a cancer diagnosis is seeking community support in a fundraising competition.

Five Points of Hope awards grants to help cancer patients pay bills such as insurance deductibles, prescriptions, medical equipment and utility bills. The small charity works with licensed social workers who nominate individuals and bills such as insurance deductibles, utilities, and prescriptions are paid directly to vendors to avoid any misuse of funds. It recently won $5,000 as a finalist in the “Thumbs Up For Charity” public voting contest and is hoping to build on that momentum. Five Points of Hope is now participating in the Art Van Charity Challenge, which got underway this week and is a donation based fundraiser.

Donations of $10 and up to $10,000 count toward the competition and Art Van will award cash prizes to the top five charities in fundraising totals, with first place receiving $50,000. The charity that wins the contest wins $50,000 from Art Van, which officials say could be a real game changer for the tiny non-profit.

That would allow Five Points of Hope to nearly double the number of patients helped over the next year, according to Founder Erin Welsh. She started the charity in honor of her father who passed away from cancer in 1999 and a friend, who is a cancer survivor. Welsh says the charity helps fill a gap for people with the grant awards but the need continues to increase, and the contest would help them expand the amount they give on an annual basis as well as the amount of people they can impact. She says many of those they assist actually have medical insurance, but their out-of-pocket expenses are so high they can’t afford their illness. She tells WHMI they want people to have one less burden so they can focus on healing. Welsh acknowledged winning the Charity Challenge won’t be easy but they’re hopeful and going to try. If not, she says it’s still a win-win because they will still get to keep the donated funds donated.

Five Points of Hope is 100% volunteer-based so all funds raised or donated go directly to helping cancer patients. The Art Van Charity Challenge contest ends at 2pm May 22nd. A link to the donation page and more information is available through the provided link and press release. (JM)