The town of Thurmont closed out its 8th annual “Gateway to the Cure” breast cancer fundraiser Tuesday evening, delivering a check for $18,800 to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.

With this donation, the town has contributed more than $100,000 to the local fund, started two decades ago by the co-owner of downtown Frederick’s Colonial Jewelers and her husband to expand access to treatment to those diagnosed with breast cancer in Frederick County.

“This is a celebration and we are here to celebrate that milestone,” Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder said at the town meeting Tuesday night. She later presented a slideshow that featured photos from the yearly fundraiser set to the Kool & The Gang’s 1980 song “Celebration.”

Throughout last month, Thurmont residents could participate in the fundraiser by purchasing pink light bulbs from the town’s ACE Hardware and Hobb’s Hardware, Inc., running or walking in the 7th annual Gateway To The Cure 5K, buying merchandise from the town office or bidding in the town’s silent auction.

Residents also decorated pumpkins, which were placed in front of the town office. People who donated $1 could vote for their favorites. The contest brought in $238 last month — the most it has ever done.

Twenty-six local businesses, organizations and nonprofits also contributed money to the fund throughout October.

Since 1991, money from the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund has gone toward enhancing Frederick Health’s ability to detect cases of the disease early on and funding the Medical Oncology Suite at Frederick’s James M. Stockman Cancer Institute.

At Tuesday’s town meeting, Patty Hurwitz said she hopes money from the fund she and her husband began will bolster Frederick Health’s genetics research efforts, which will help the health system determine how susceptible a patient is to developing breast cancer.

Though Thurmont’s population may be small in numbers, Hurwitz says she believes you’re as big as your heart is.

“I know it’s fun to be a small town, but in my mind, you’re a big town,” she said. “You have big hearts and you’ve put that to use for something that’s helping many, many, many women right here in Frederick County.”

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

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