For Immediate Release
Contact: Pat Colleluori
PHILADELPHIA, PA – This Thanksgiving will mark the 11th year that the HEADstrong Foundation will coordinate and serve the traditional holiday feast to the patients and families receiving inpatient care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Annually, the Colleluori family alongside of a dedicated group of volunteers has been involved with serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal to hundreds of patients, families and medical staff. HEADstrong’ s annual Thanksgiving feast is part of the organization’s HEADtable program, which serves meals, provides outlets of entertainment and recreational activities for in-patients and their families receiving cancer care at Philadelphia based hospitals.
Spending the Thanksgiving holiday at Abramson Cancer Center is a reality all too familiar to the Colleluori family, who spearhead the organization. It was here that the family shared their last Thanksgiving with their son, brother and HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori who succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just two days after the holiday in 2006. During the last days of his life, Nicholas asked his family to see his vision of the HEADstrong Foundation™ into fruition and to help gather loved ones by serving and sharing the traditional meal with patients and families on his favorite holiday.
“Thanksgiving was our Nick’s favorite holiday. Serving and sharing the feast has been a privilege that we as a family and organization are honored to provide. It has become a tradition for our family and it has sparked our HEADtable program. Through doing this we have met so many wonderful people, many whom which have joined us in our efforts. It is very encouraging for patients to see survivors working alongside of us because if there is anything that we can share with them during Thanksgiving, it is that they are not alone and that there is hope.” Michael Colleluori, HF Vice President and Nick’s Brother.
HEADstrong’ s volunteer core transforms conference space on each floor to seasonally themed dining rooms. The rooms are event equipped with entertainment units, designed by Nicholas Colleluori himself to improve the inpatient accommodations on the floors. Families engage in much needed time together and even have the opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving football games. Throughout the day HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori accompanied by their advocacy team of survivors once treated at HUP, travel the four floors to delivery comfort kits and personally meet with every patient and their family to listen and provide support, empathy and a loving embrace.
Supporters are being encouraged to pledge $27.00 to fund a Thanksgiving meal for a hero. The $27.00 pledge will provide a delicious holiday feast with all of the trimmings, prepared by Rastelli Catering and served by HEADstrong’s dedicated core of volunteers. Visit https://headstrong.org/shop/donate-a-turkey/donate-a-turkey/ to give the gift of a Thanksgiving meal to someone spending the holiday in the hospital.
“Spending the holidays in the hospital can be incredibly hard and depressing for patients. As a “family first” non-profit organization that exists to provide normalcy to families living with cancer, we embrace the importance of the family support network and the role that it plays on a patients wellbeing. Our hope is for our hero’s to find strengthen and inspiration in being around the ones they love and are able to temporarily escape from the realities of being inpatient
for treatment. We have walked in the shoes of every patient and family spending the holiday on these floors and we want them to know that they are not alone.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom
For more information on the HEADstrong Foundation, please visit www.HEADstrong.org or follow on social @HEADstrongFnd.