On October 11-13, CLYNK, WJBQ Q97.9, and Maine Cancer Foundation held Cans for a Cure, their bottle drive event at Maine Mall which raised more than $75,000, a record for the program. This year, a Parsonfield Maine family surprised the collaborators with a large donation of over 200,000 bottles and cans, or an equivalent of a $10,500 donation.
Bryce Deshaies (11 years old), and his younger brother Riley Deshaies (nine years old) led the bottle drive effort, as they have for the past 8 years. In 2009, Katie Deshaies, the boys’ mom, wanted two-year-old Bryce to be part of something that would make a difference in the community. Katie was an avid Q97.9 listener and was always drawn to Cans for a Cure, so she decided they would start a bottle drive.
For the next six years, the family stored the redeemable containers in their garage and hauled small loads in their family vehicles the 40 miles from Parsonfield to Portland. In 2014, Steve Estes owner of P.Y. Estes & Son, Inc., was impressed with the boys’ commitment and asked to help, offering his business garage as a collection space. The cause was close to home for Steve who had lost his wife to cancer and was also active in raising funds for cancer research. Steve challenged Bryce and Riley to collect enough containers to fill his signature pink dump truck. The prize—they drive in the striking truck to deliver the donation to Portland. They did it, and they did it again in 2015. In 2016, the boys over-filled the dump truck having collected enough to fill a tractor trailer box donated by Brent Day, owner of William A. Day Jr. & Sons, Inc.
This year, with overwhelming support, the boys exceeded their goal of two filled tractor trailers. They were at the helm of a substantial convoy south: a pink tractor-trailer, a pink dump truck, a second dump truck, a semi, and a one-ton truck, along with several passenger cars of volunteers. At a separate time F.R. Carroll, Inc. hauled an additional six, one-ton truckloads to assist with the journey. A banner, donated by Dianne Day (Brent’s wife) to honor family and community members affected by breast cancer, including Bryce and Riley’s great-grandmother, accompanied the procession.
In South Portland the Cans crew was just finishing their first long but exhilarating day when the huge convoy pulled in. Quickly summoning CLYNK employees from their nearby plant and from their homes, and volunteers from around the parking lot, the now large team transferred all of the precious cargo and goodwill to be processed at CLYNK, and Riley, Bryce, and friends turned the trucks around for home.
”One of our real sources of pride at CLYNK is that the term CLYNKing has become synonymous with community. We all know recycling bottles and cans is good for our local environment but when combined with redemption nickels and the generosity of neighbors it becomes a powerful way for communities to rally around a cause they feel strongly about, and do lots of good. In this case, you’ve got kids leading neighbors, and garnering the support of a cement company, a quarry, a logging company, a radio station, a tech start-up—an entire community army was mobilized. CLYNK is so pleased to have been invited to play a supporting role.” -Alison Vanderhoof, CLYNK President
Bryce and Riley are already thinking about how to grow again in 2018. If you are interested in supporting their cause, drop off redeemable containers at P. Y. Estes & Son, Inc. (102 Depot Rd, West Baldwin, ME 04091) or message Katie Deshaies on Facebook to schedule a pick-up as needed throughout the year. As Katie states, “We can’t do it without our family and friends, who help us every year. Together, we make a substantial and meaningful difference when we pull into the mall parking lot on our big annual night.”