St. John Valley

Mizpah cancels Walk Around the Pond and plans to hold raffle instead

GRAND ISLE, Maine — Tucked away off the dirt roads in Grand Isle lies the beautiful Mizpah grounds, one of the hidden jewels of the Valley and home of one of the most beautiful end of summer events of the year — the annual Walk Around the Pond. 


This year, however, Mizpah faced off with the COVID-19 quarantine and decided early on to call off the yearly event that is known to bring peace and solace to many every year. 

The late Richard Corbin, founded Mizpah — which means “helping one another” in Hebrew — in 1991, dedicating the then-15-acre site to instilling the feeling of spiritual healing in visitors. Doctors diagnosed him with Hodgkin’s disease when he was 22 and gave him less than a year to live. But he survived through many treatments and surgeries to age 71.

Richard made a promise to God at one point that if he spared his life “for a little while longer I would build a place for cancer people to come to,” according to the Mizpah website. “A place for cancer survivors and people in grief to come and reflect, meditate, console and be at peace with each other and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer.”

Since then, Mizpah has become a place for all people, in all walks of life, suffering from any illness to come and find peace in the tranquility of the beautifully groomed grounds. 

In years prior, Mizpah held an annual Walk Around the Pond to raise money to help maintain the camp grounds including the construction of a small house built and designed to be a peaceful getaway for cancer patients in their final stages of life. 

This year, with COVID-19 CDC guidelines and concerns over the spread of the virus, Mizpah’s Roger Corbin and the team decided to cancel the annual event. 

“Having to shut our doors for the COVID-19 pandemic was something we never anticipated and it pains us that we have had no choice but to close for the season,” Corbin said. “This year is particularly hard for people to handle this crisis on their own.  Mizpah is a place where people came to visit with their loved one and connected with those who passed away. “

As a nonprofit organization, Corbin said they rely heavily on donations received from visitors each summer and that the Walk Around the Pond is the biggest fundraiser. 

Instead, this year the group will come up with a raffle that will last five weeks at the end of the summer, and will have one winner a day during the week Monday through Friday. 

Tickets are on sale for $10 each and are available at locations across the Valley, which can be found on their Facebook page.

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