Serving Hope, Holiday Feast
HEADstrong Spreading Comfort & Joy To Cancer Patients and Families This Holiday
Philadelphia, PA – On Sunday, December 22, 2013 the HEADstrong Foundation™ will bring home the holidays to patients and their families receiving inpatient care for blood cancers in the Rhoads Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. HEADstrong, alongside of a dedicated group of volunteers, will transform conference rooms into family dining rooms and will serve a holiday feast. They will also provide live entertainment, holiday carolers and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will distribute comfort kits and gifts to all of the patients. This is just one way that the HEADstrong Foundation™ is helping to bring comfort and joy to those affected by blood cancers this holiday season.
Aside from all of the services provided that day, HEADstrong President, Cheryl Colleluori, accompanied by a group of survivors will personally visit with every patient to provide encouragement and extend warm holiday wishes and an arm of support.
Spending the holidays in a hospital is a reality all too familiar to the Colleluori family. In 2005, the family spent the holidays in the hospital caring for son and brother, Nicholas, who was battling non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. From his hospital bed, Nicholas conceptualized the organization now known as HEADstrong Foundation™ (HF) to provide assistance, resources and services to patient and their families with the purpose of improving their quality of life and helping to sustain normalcy. Nicholas succumbed to the disease in 2006, but during the final days of his life, he asked his family to carry his vision of creating the HEADstrong Foundation™ into fruition and to serve and share the holidays with patients and families.
Through HF’s HEADtable program, the organization provides home-cooked meals and entertainment to patients and families on a monthly basis. Dinners, refreshments, movie nights, bingo, live entertainment are all part of this initiative to improve patient moral, gather families and improve the patient experience. The organization plans to expand this program into other Philadelphia hospitals beginning in 2014.
“The holidays are a special time for families and loved ones to be together and we are dedicated to bringing comfort and joy to those who cannot be home this year because of treatment for blood cancers. Spending the holidays in the hospital can really affect a person’s mental wellbeing and we believe that sharing this holiday season will bring some happiness, some laughter and some normalcy to those who need it most. Our hope is that patients find strength 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 holidays on these floors and we want them to know that they are not alone.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom.
HEADstrong Foundation is a non-profit 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.
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