PHILADELPHIA –Thousands of spectators flocked to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to witness the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships this past Memorial Day Weekend. As part of their new HEADline project, the HEADstrong Foundation™ awarded complimentary suites to patients, families, survivors, and caregivers for the games. Rosemary Mele, a member of the HEADstrong patient advocacy committee, had the opportunity to attend the event with her two sons, Pete and Ray.
Rosemary and her family have been through quite a lot and certainly deserved the opportunity to escape their reality. After a decade long fight against chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Rosemary’s husband, Pete, lost his battle on April 2, 2014. Pete always loved the mission of HEADstrong, including the foundation’s motto, “Be relentless.” Even after the tragic loss of a beloved husband and father, Rosemary and her sons continued to “be relentless” in honor of Pete.
Rosemary had a great experience at the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships. She was elated that she got the chance to spend some much needed quality time with her sons. Both Pete and Ray play lacrosse, so they were very excited to be part of the event. In addition to spending time with her boys, Rosemary enjoyed mingling with different families that were also guests of the organization. She specifically remembers talking with two women, one woman was going through treatment for breast cancer and the other woman’s husband was preparing to receive a bone marrow transplant. Rosemary liked that she was able to listen to their stories and let them know what to expect.
While reflecting on her family’s experience Rosemary said, “I remember those days. It is nice to talk to people who are going through it or have in the past. I think the event was well received by everyone. In the beginning, we were all kind of standoffish. Then, as time passed, everyone began to chat. I think Cheryl really helped to break the ice. She [Cheryl] popped her head in, which got the conversation started. It was just really nice to forget about our realities.”
When asked about HEADstrong’s overall mission, to improve the quality of life for those affected by cancer, Rosemary said, “They [The HEADstrong Foundation™] absolutely accomplishes their goal. HEADstrong brings such comfort to patients and families, not only with events like this one. Cheryl sending a simple note like, ‘how is it going?’ can really help. They bring so much to the table for the community as a whole. HEADstrong has become such a recognizable organization, which goes to show that they are accomplishing their mission.”
Watch how the Mele Family benefitted from HEADstrong’s HEADtable Program
About HEADstrong Foundation
The HEADstrong Foundation™ is a 501(c)(3) committed to being a resource for cancer patients and their families, helping them to navigate the harrowing ordeal of cancer by providing essential services to improve quality of life. HEADstrong™ is an athletic rooted organization that serves the cancer community by granting direct financial assistance to those financially impacted as a result of the disease, by providing complimentary long-term housing and amenities for those traveling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for cancer related treatments through Nick’s House™, by funding innovative blood cancer research through the Nicholas E. Colleluori Lymphoma research fund, by serving family meals and offering outlets of entertainment for those receiving care at hospitals, by delivering comfort kits to newly hospitalized patients preparing for treatment or transplant and by lending an arm of support through their peer to peer advocacy group. The blueprints for the Foundation were conceptualized by Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori in 2006, while he underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which ultimately claimed his life. Today, Nick’s vision is being fulfilled through the relentless efforts of his family, athletes and supporters across the country uniting in the fight against blood cancers. For more information on the HEADstrong Foundation™ and how they are Getting aHEAD of Cancer™ go to www.HEADstrong.org.