2nd Annual Survival of the Mills Wrap-Up | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

Survival of the Mills
Survival of the Mills

Our 2nd Annual Survival of the Mills on Sunday October 11, 2015 brought together athletes, volunteers and sponsors for a “One of a Kind” race to benefit David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.

We want to thank our friend & Race Director Ross Reynolds from Trident Multisport for another amazing race. Ross puts in a yeoman  effort prior to the event and the athlete’s can visibly see the attention to detail on race day. Ross knows that perspective very well being a multisport athlete himself (very good one at that) and he takes pride in creating a well-run event for fellow athletes!

Thank you to all the amazing volunteers and there were plenty of you for the 2nd Annual Survival of the Mills. A special thanks to Ross’s wife Marissa for managing registration in 36’ degree temps early on race day and managing the various aspects of the after party and awards ceremony. Thank you to Tommy Craig for working on course set-up with Ross Reynolds and overall management of race logistics. Thank you to Cathy Deely for working our race packet pickup on Saturday and road detail on race day. Thank you to DDBCF Board of Director members Kim Manzella and Dani Corso for working packet pickup, water stations, transition area and road detail. Our Board of Director members serve on a 100% volunteer basis in order to direct the largest percentage of funds back to our families battling a cancer diagnosis.

We want to acknowledge the presence of two youth groups at our 2nd Annual Survival of the Mills. The youth group for DDBCF called Generation Dream manned the water stations and swim transition area. Kai Manzella from Generation Dream even spent his birthday with us volunteering during the race. Our newest partner is our DDBCF student group from Southern Regional High School. Ms. Rebecca Posch led a contingent of 16 students helping out all day with various tasks. Awesome Job to both of these amazing youth groups! A special thank you to Mikaela McGovern for singing a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

We want to thank our sponsors who make a conscious decision to support the Foundation throughout the year understanding that their efforts have a direct impact on the lives of families affected by a cancer diagnosis. Ocean Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine, Equity Prime Mortgage, Thomas V. Mass DMD and Associates, Volatile Media Management, Panzone’s Pizza, Swing Graphics, Barlow Buick GMC, Thompson Healthcare & Sports Medicine, Fusaro’s Pizza, Shore Promotions, LBI PBA #175, Ocean County Sheriff, Waretown First Aid Department, Walt McCollum Plumbing Heating & Cooling, The Arlington, DQ Events, Road ID, Ocean County Parks & Recreation, Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation and Wells Mills County Park.

A special thanks to our athletes who braved some “brisk” early morning temperatures but certainly understood the greater meaning behind this race and inspired us all with their efforts!

The end result of a successful race is that our patients will be the ultimate winners thanks to the efforts of so many today! Thank you from all of us at David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation and see you next year!

 “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have!”

2015 Hero of Hope Award Recipient | Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

Sharon Gentry - David Caldarella - Lillie Shockney
Sharon Gentry – David Caldarella – Lillie Shockney

2015 Hero of Hope Award

Click here for Official Press Release

The biggest takeaways from an incredible few months being involved with the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigator’s “Hero of Hope Award” were the following:

  • The nomination from Elizabeth “Lizzie” Martinez RN/Nurse Navigator from Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, NJ meant the world to me because Lizzie represents A Beacon of Hope to her oncology patients at SOMC on a daily basis. It’s been a pleasure and honor to partner with Lizzie to better assist our oncology patients.
  • The selection of being named a finalist by the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators was equally meaningful to me. This is a fraternity of amazing individuals that work tirelessly on behalf of the oncology patients and a group for which I have the utmost respect and appreciation. I witnessed their selfless acts of kindness and generosity of spirit during my own battle with cancer and continue to see those same selfless acts through the eyes of the patients of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.
  • The 3 other nominees: Bonnie Addario, Susan Leighton and Paul Karpinnen. You can still read and watch their videos by clicking on the link below but I will tell you that all 3 of them are Heroes! All 3 of their videos brought me to tears and I was blessed to spend some time with Susan and Paul over this past weekend. Unfortunately, Bonnie had a prior commitment to an event with her own organization in Philadelphia. Conquer Magazine: Meet the Nominees
  • During this process, I got to spend some time with Gwen Coverdale and Bruce James. Gwen was my initial contact and interviewed Lizzie and me for the video. Bruce was responsible for pictures and video. I consider both of them friends now and their quality of work speaks volumes about them as people.
  • Many may or may not know that my girlfriend Catherine Deely is a breast cancer survivor. She’s also one of the strongest and most compassionate women I’ve ever met. She’s an incredible support system for me and a tremendous advocate for DDBCF so it was especially rewarding to share this entire experience with her.
  • I cannot thank all of you enough who voted, shared and spread the word about the nomination and voting. A special thanks to my medical team and friends at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for all your efforts in helping get the word out about the nomination and voting. You are all not only responsible for raising awareness for DDBCF throughout this process but also responsible for DDBCF receiving a $1,000.00 grant!
  • When my name was announced by Co-Founder of AONN Lillie Shockney RN as the Inaugural Hero of Hope recipient, my first inclination was, “Did I hear that correctly?” I was and still am humbled by the nomination and to be included with the 3 other amazing nominees. There were 10,000+ votes registered and am beyond grateful for the $1,000.00 grant to DDBCF which will go directly into the hands of a deserving family or two battling a cancer diagnosis. More than anything else, this nomination and award means “the little engine that could” known as DDBCF is being recognized on a national level for the “IMPACT” it’s having in the oncology community and specifically for its’ impact on patients and their families affected by a cancer diagnosis. This is a credit to our Board of Directors (Kim McCabe Manzella, Tim Hall, Dani Corso, Jill Elsasser, Kristin Panzone and Kelly Powers) who serve on a 100% volunteer basis and give 100% of their hearts; our generous and amazing sponsors who continually reach into their individual pockets and that of their businesses/organizations to support DDBCF; our selfless volunteers who give of their time and energy; our growing youth group Generation Dream and their parents; the newly formed Southern Regional High School student group and its’ teachers; Stockton University, Dr. Ai Zhang and students. Last but certainly first in the hearts and minds of all of us at DDBCF are the patients currently battling a cancer diagnosis and those brave souls we have lost to this deadly disease. This amazing group of courageous, strong and inspiring souls received that Hero of Hope Award this past Saturday!

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul!!!

David

2015 Hero of Hope Nominees
2015 Hero of Hope Nominees