Million Dollar Milestone: Reflections from DDBCF Co-Founders Tim Hall & Carmen Malatino

In 2010, our lifelong friend and “brother” David Caldarella entered the fight of his life. The diagnosis was cancer and the battle would be fierce. HOPE never failed, but there was a very good chance all would be lost, and that David would become another familiar and grim cancer statistic.

Several months into his horrific fight that summer, David envisioned a new mission for his life. The vision was to create a non-profit organization, dedicated to paying forward the kindness, support and HOPE that had been offered to him during his battle. David shared his vision with us, asking if we would be interested in participating, and a few months later (still a long way from receiving an “all clear” report from his surgeon), David placed his signature on the formal 501c3 charter for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation (DDBCF)!

Officially kicking off in 2011, DDBCF would emerge as what seemed, even to us co-founders, a rather typical non-profit organization…a small group of decent people who volunteer time to help a cause. Almost immediately however, it became clear that the self-described “little engine that could” possessed a unique factor. We refer to this as the “David Factor.” The David Factor is something intangible but very real. The David Factor represents the explosively magnetic attraction that people have always had for our kind, humble, funny, passionate, strong and amazingly selfless friend David Caldarella. If you have not met David, find a way to meet him – the world is a much better place because of him.

Finally, the David Factor is the reason why we are astonished and humbled to report that DDBCF has been able to help over a thousand patients with more than one million dollars in generously donated financial aid and HOPE. A million dollars is easy to spend, and HOPE is a lifesaving treasure.

On behalf of DDBCF, we wish to sincerely thank the army of people involved with making DDBCF the incredibly successful non-profit organization that it is today. To our past and present board members, partners, event volunteers, supporters, generous donors and our patients – we are blessed to know you and remain driven to serve you and your families into the New Year.

Tim Hall & Carmen Malatino
DDBCF Co-Founders

Shave The Date 2108

In just 30 days, 88 fundraisers & 454 donors raised over $28K for New Jersey males battling a cancer diagnosis. These funds will cover doctors visits, treatments, living expenses, utilities, grocery bills and the litany of other financial costs that are associated with a diagnosis for at least two dozen families. More importantly, these funds will alleviate the stress & the fear that at times can feel insurmountable. These funds are a glimmer of hope.

Thank you to Swing Graphics, Ryan’s Barber Shop & Shave Parlor, The Arlington, our Teams/Ambassadors and every donor who helped Shave The Date shine bright as A Beacon Of Hope for patients in need. We can not do this with out you.

Please meet our Ambassadors on MobileCause and view our photo gallery on Facebook!

A Perspective: Sophie Beyer

In 2015, my senior year at Barnegat High School, two amazing people walked into the Interact club meeting after school. Half way through David telling his story and Dani expressing her passion and commitment to the organization, I was all in. I recall thinking that whatever involvement and event they are asking for participation in, I will be a part of it. It wasn’t the idea of checking off National Junior Honor Society volunteer hours, or even raising money for cancer patients at that point, it was more. Within minutes of meeting those two, I immediately thought, “this is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up, and this is the passion and initiative that I’ve been searching for in this small town.”

Those following months, with the help of the community, we organized a block party event at the high school to raise funds for local families battling cancer. This was about a year after my grandfather, who we call Happy, was diagnosed with colon cancer. This was my family’s introduction to this devastating disease. Being from a family who is used to disease and illness, I recall not feeling uncomfortable sitting next to him at the hospital, or joining him for chemo visits in the following years- these steps felt almost normal. Then last year we began to lose him. The cancer had spread across his body and eventually to his brain. This delightful and quiet man, who has been as involved in raising my sister and I as my parents, began to fade away from us. He began to show signs of memory loss and confusion, something that is terrifying, no matter how familiar you are with illness. For months, my entire family mourned Happy’s personality slipping away from us, and then in February, after an extremely trying two-month stretch, we grieved his loss all over again. At the nearly eight-hour viewing, with an intermission to eat lots and drink cheap wine, I saw what a life well-lived looks like. Despite a relatively small extended family, you could not find an open parking space come seven o’clock. The room was filled with familiar faces ranging from my friends who immediately bonded with him, his dozens of friendships him and my grandmother sustained throughout the years, and of course David and Dani.

When writing his eulogy, it was hard to be sad when recalling what a great life this man had lived. With grandchildren and greatgrandbabies loving him and admiring him for years and years to come, it led me to think about cancer stories I have heard throughout the years of working with David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. For not one moment during Happy’s battle was he alone, something not everyone has the fortune of. Due to his good job delivering paper’s through my mother’s childhood, and being very financially savvy, my grandmother did not need to make a single financial sacrifice when the cancer prognosis came. For this reason, my family was full heartedly able to support him and support each other, during this extremely difficult time.

In our Ocean County community, this is not always the case. DDDBCF showed me that in some cases, cancer is something you deal with alone. It is a lonely time, not surrounded by family, and becomes even more stressful when your health care denies certain treatment. Cancer, when not even terminal, can become a death-sentence to some individuals both financially and mentally. This is when David steps in. While he may not be at the point (yet) of making bills disappear or making relatives re-appear, he becomes whatever the patient seeks. If you need him to call you after surgery and just listen, that is where he will be. If he senses that you need some elementary school kids letters and hope, that’s what he will send. If you just need some extra money this month to pay your electric bill, it is already in the mail. David, the entire organization, and all the amazing donors each year, fill in the gaps. They take on the job my mom, aunts and uncles took on during the last few months of Happy’s life.

As I finish up my senior year at university, I am reflecting upon the lessons I have received thus far. Whatever steps I take next, I strive to do them with the same passion and compassion as David and Dani have taught me. Long Beach Island has taught me how important community is, and this organization shows you how it is ever-expanding. To wrap up this entry, and to potentially be a spark of light in someone’s dark times, a quote from Dalai Lama – “the period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one’s life.”

Photo: Michael John Murphy, Island Gala, 2017