April winner

Who can? NEKCAN!

762 Votes
How to Vote?

The Northeastern Kingdom Cancer Action Network provides grants to those fighting cancer in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, while raising awareness and supporting cancer fighting causes to benefit all. Vote for them by April 30!

Mike and Jenn Barrett did not plan on working at Mike’s family’s agency. They didn’t even live in the area. Plans changed in 2007 however, when Mike’s mom was diagnosed with a reoccurrence of Ovarian cancer. With his dad needing more support at the agency, and at home, Mike and Jenn decided to move back to Mike’s hometown to help keep the family business running.


After Mike’s mothers passing, both motivated by his mom’s involvement, the couple got involved with the Relay for Life of Caledonia County, with Mike emceeing the event for many years.


From loss comes new love

Garth Leach was unknowingly walking a similar path to Mike. Leach had lost his dad to cancer and was supporting his mom through the challenges that follow losing a loved one.


When Garth’s mom and Mike’s dad met, one of those challenges wasn’t finding love again. The pair married in 2011 and naturally Garth and Mike became stepbrothers. The brotherly bond quickly grew, creating a natural fit for working on the board of Northeast Kingdom Cancer Action Network (NEKCAN) together as President and Vice-President.


Filling a need in Northeast Kingdom

Barrett’s mom and Leach’s dad were two of thousands of people living with cancer in the Northeast Kingdom. Another NEKCAN founder, Dan Copp has been directly impacted as well, with the loss of his father, having had his own battle with cancer, seeing a strong need to help. Therefore, NEKCAN’s mission is to provide direct financial support to as many of those people as they can and to use their platform to raise awareness around the need to fund cancer research.


The grants they provide to individuals are modest at $250 each month for six months but go a long way for those in need. For instance, in the cold New England months when oil furnaces need to stay full. Barrett says when push comes to shove, “We don’t want our neighbors to have to make a choice. We don’t want them to have to choose between paying for oil to heat their homes, food, or their cancer treatments.”


“We don’t want our neighbors to have to make a choice…between paying for oil to heat their homes, food, or their cancer treatments.”

– Mike Barrett, owner of Barrett Insurance Agency, and cofounder and board president of Northeast Kingdom Cancer Action Network


A community effort

While the nonprofit is new, they already have a big following in the Northeast Kingdom and are currently helping around a dozen people in the community. And many more are helping the nonprofit.


Donations come in from a diverse group in the Northeast Kingdom, from a motorcycle riding club to a local high school hockey team who raised money through selling raffle tickets and purple ribbons to hang up at the game to show support. Both the team and NEKCAN won that night as Mike and other board members were on hand to accept the donation check.


Community members have helped the young nonprofit get off the ground in other ways too, starting with the eight-person all-volunteer NEKCAN board. A local legal firm also helped the nonprofit pro-bono to navigate the paperwork that comes with obtaining nonprofit status, managing donations, and giving grants.


A vision to help everyone

The nonprofit may be young, but Barrett, Leach, Copp and others on the board have big dreams. And big events to help support them. Last year NEKCAN hosted an 80’s themed dance party, a car show, 5K fun run and the Winter Snow Ball. “While the events can be a lot of work, we have a lot of fun bringing people together to have fun, enjoy life, and help support those in need,” said Leach.


Recently Barrett was talking to a client in his agency and learned that while the client had been in remission from his previously treated cancer, it had unfortunately spread. “I was able to tell him about NEKCAN, encouraged him to apply, and am excited to see he was awarded a grant at our last NEKCAN board meeting,” said Barrett.


“While the events can be a lot of work, we have a lot of fun bringing people together to have fun, enjoy life, and help support those in need,”

– Garth Leach, cofounder and board vide president, Northeast Kingdom Cancer Action Network


A $5,000 Make More Happen Award donation will certainly help. Ensure that Barrett Insurance Agency reaches 500 votes and an additional $5,000 donation for Northeast Kingdom Cancer Action Network, simply by leaving a comment below and clicking the vote button at the top of the story.

762 Votes
Thank you for commenting! Please come back tomorrow to comment and vote for this agency!
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mariah Kulkin
1 month ago


Kelly Rinaldi
1 month ago

Great cause. Good luck!

Kathy Zita
1 month ago

Great cause! We all truly appreciate all you are doing.

Nicole Wawrzonek
1 month ago

You have my vote!

E Torkelsen
1 month ago
Arlene Hovey
1 month ago

Awesome Good luck get enough votes will message my friends yo vote.

Kathy Sjolander
1 month ago

Wishing you all the best. Hope you win.

Richard Kanto
1 month ago

Great work! Thank you for all you do!

1 month ago

Great team work, everyone involved. With the communities help we can do so much.

Henry Feintuch
1 month ago

Great cause!

Lincoln M Paquette
2 months ago

Awesome organization

Shannan Arens
2 months ago

Good luck!

2 months ago

Great initiative!

Kim Russell
2 months ago

So PROUD of our community and it’s support!

Sharon Grenier
2 months ago

Jenny is so very proud of you! Help NEKCAN help our community! VOTE!

Christine Demars
2 months ago

This helps so many people ❣️

2 months ago

So proud of both of you for your commitment to our community!

2 months ago

A much needed organization

Gorkem Koroglu
2 months ago

Amazing work for a very important cause!

Cynthia L Stuart
2 months ago

Wonderful grass-roots organization!

Stephanie Jackson
2 months ago

These folks at NEKCAN are tireless supporters of our community. Please support them.

Robyn Baillargeon
2 months ago

Grea organization.

Edward Margallo
2 months ago

Great work!

Janice Phelps
2 months ago

Thank you

Diane Holmes
2 months ago

When I read the title of the article “Local Agency Wins Award for Volunteerism, Community Service”, my first thought that it must be Barrett insurance Agency. Thank you for all that you do!

Susan Becker
2 months ago

Truly inspiring

Jen D’Agostino
2 months ago

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Mike and Jenn do so much for our community. We’re lucky to have them.

2 months ago

Fabulous work.

Erin Hamilton
2 months ago

What a great organization!!

Michelle Walker
2 months ago

Happy to help another agency supporting a great cause!!

Kristen Langlais
2 months ago

Thanks for all the good work you do!

2 months ago

I love that the money stays local and helps our neighbors!

Katerina Leach
2 months ago

So proud of our NEK community and grateful for NEKCAN. Thank you for all you do!

2 months ago


Jan Oliver
2 months ago

Wonderful organization

2 months ago

It’s a good local cause that helps the community.

Garth Leach
2 months ago

This is very execiting!

2 months ago

What a great organization!

maryvonne Wheeler
2 months ago

good luck with this worth cause.

Mark Male
2 months ago

Not sure who hasn’t been touched by cancer, you had my vote with hello!

Kim Panton
2 months ago

This is awesome!!

Jessica M Fleury
2 months ago

You’ve got my vote! Great way to support such a wonderful cause!!

Deb Bissell
2 months ago

Congratulations to the Barrett Insurance Agency for supporting this organization and making a difference within their community!

Make More Happen - How to Vote

  • Cast your vote by clicking the Vote button
  • Leave a comment below for an additional vote!
  • You can vote on a story using the button and leaving a comment once per day (and once on each of your devices!)