HEADstrong’s Annual Donate A Turkey Dinner Is Back

Holmes, Penn. (November 1, 2021) –  This Thanksgiving will mark the 14th consecutive year that the HEADstrong Foundation will coordinate a traditional holiday meal for patients and their families, along with the staff at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  

Bringing the family spirit of Thanksgiving to those receiving inpatient care during the holiday was a goal of HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori, and the tradition has continued on as a staple of the patient services offered by the foundation. The annual Thanksgiving meal is part of HEADstrong’s HEADtable program, which serves meals and provides entertainment events and recreational activities to patients receiving cancer care at Philadelphia-area hospitals.

For the second year, the event will look slightly different. Instead of the Colleluori family, HF team and volunteers serving the meal on each floor of the oncology department and bringing normalcy to an abnormal holiday setting, with restrictions in place due to COVID-19, physical access to the hospital is not possible. Instead, longtime partner Rastelli Catering will prepare and deliver the meals to be served directly to patients, family members and staff by authorized personnel.

Beginning today, November 1st, through Thanksgiving on November 25th, the HEADstrong Foundation asks its supporters to pledge a $25 Thanksgiving meal to a patient and a family member, allowing them to enjoy the holiday while receiving inpatient care. To give the gift of Thanksgiving to those spending the holiday in the hospital, click HERE.

This year, HEADstrong is proud to announce a sponsor for the annual event. Brian Griffin, an agent with Keller Williams Main Line, is matching the first 80 turkey dinners donated this season. Griffin, a recent leukemia survivor, received dinner courtesy of HEADstrong during his treatment. Now doing well and back to work, he is excited to give back and help those going through what he experienced. 

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, to miss it was just one more thing cancer was taking from me,” Griffin said. “To be able to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal with my wife at Penn, while undergoing treatment restored a bit of normalcy to our lives. To this day, I’m very grateful for the HEADstrong Foundation and all those who volunteer to deliver that taste of normalcy.” 

“Thanksgiving was our last holiday together as a family,” said Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s mom. “Since his passing, we have fulfilled our last promise to Nick that others would benefit from his life and bringing Thanksgiving to the hospital was the very first thing we did to honor him. Nick was adamant about us serving at the hospital and we will do everything in our power to continue to make that happen. We are thankful to be a resource to families just like ours. We were proud to serve Brian and his family and are thrilled to have him pay it forward.” 

For more information on the HEADstrong Foundation, it’s mission and those that it serves, please visit www.HEADstrong.org and follow on social media at @HEADstrongFND.