“When random coincidence is actually the well-directed, brightly shining light from A Beacon of Hope”

Hope
random coincidence
Cassandra L. Peters

Earlier this week, I received one of those “out-of-the-blue” RANDOM calls from a dear friend. He wanted to know if I could sing for an upcoming funeral Mass at his local church (if you know me, you are aware that I’m a singer/hobbyist for weddings, funerals, town events, etc.).

Knowing that I work full-time, my friend knew that a Friday morning event would be a long-shot for me to be able to schedule. However, for some RANDOM reason he called anyway….and for some RANDOM reason I was able to free up my schedule and agreed to sing.

The funeral was Friday March 31, 2017. As I raced from my office to the Church, I began pondering questions that all singers might ponder just before a funeral Mass: Who passed away? What were the circumstances? Will this be a typical funeral for an elderly relative, or will this be one of the harder ones that will require me to contend with particularly grueling emotions.

When I pulled my car into the parking lot it was obvious that this would be one of the hard ones – too many cars, too many people…. this was definitely someone special and my instincts told me that it was probably an untimely passing. I proceeded straight to the choir loft, where my friend/organist met me for our 10-minute quick review of the program…that’s just about when my instincts proved to be accurate. I learned that the funeral was indeed being held for a young woman who lost her battle with cancer.

This will sound like it is embellished, but by RANDOM timing, and at nearly the very moment that I was learning who I was singing for, I received a text message from my lifelong friend (and co-founder of DDBCF) David Caldarella. If you know David, you are aware that in one of his roles with our foundation, he is all-too often forced to attend funerals/viewings for so many beautiful souls taken far too early by cancer that become acquaintances, friends and in some cases family for him.

David had no reason to fathom that I might be standing in a church on a RANDOM Friday morning – let alone preparing to sing for a RANDOMLY scheduled funeral Mass. Reading further – David’s message conveyed that he had just attended a viewing for yet another beautiful young woman who lost her life to cancer. It was remarkable to realize that David and I were RANDOMLY sharing a mutual moment of anger and sadness. We continued texting for a few minutes, and very soon realized the incredible coincidence – David and I were talking about the same beautiful person. Yes, the RANDOMLY scheduled funeral Mass was for the same beautiful young woman (Cassandra) that David had been visiting, supporting and became friends with over the past few years – neither of us had any idea.

I believe that the bright shining DDBCF Beacon of Hope is casting a wide and warm light in darkness today, and it motivates me more than ever to continue working to help provide care, assistance and HOPE to those suffering with – and unfortunately sometimes being devastated by cancer.

#WeWill continue shining light in darkness

 

Carmen Malatino
Co-Founder
David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

A Beacon of Hope

A Beacon of Hope

On Friday December 2nd, David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation reached $200,000.00 in grant donations for the calendar year of 2016 for the first time in our six-year existence. This major milestone is staggering and sobering at the same time. 226 Families are the recipients of the $200,558.24 in grant assistance. Our patients in 2016 range in ages from an 18-month-old girl from Manahawkin to an 84-year-old woman from Ocean Township. Assistance is provided in the form of financial grants including: rent, mortgage, utilities, medical, transportation, groceries and most importantly HOPE in the form of compassion, generosity and love!

$200,000.00 in grant donations for our patients battling a cancer diagnosis are a blessing and lifeline but this “Generosity of Spirit” would not be possible without the support from: our completely volunteer Board of Directors present & past, our Directors of Patient Advocacy, volunteers, individual donors, business sponsors, our youth group Generation Dream & their parents, our Southern Regional High School student group and many more. Most importantly the patients & families who inspire all of us on a daily basis!

We realize the patient grant applications continue to increase at an alarming rate but we also see the passionate, growing and energized team forming alongside David’s Dream & Believe ready to support those families in their darkest of times. We Appreciate You & Thank You!

Thank you, David Caldarella 

Pancake Breakfast with Santa

Pancake Breakfast with Santa
Pancake Breakfast with Santa

PANCAKE BREAKFAST WITH SANTA!

Please join David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation on Sunday December 4th between 8:00 – 11:00am at TGI Fridays Manahawkin for our final event of 2016. It’s time for our 2nd Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa presented by our youth group Generation Dream and students from Southern Regional High School.

$10.00 includes one order of pancakes, bacon, sausage, coffee, soft drinks and pictures with Santa.

We will have Jetty printed DDBCF gear and our Southern Regional High School/DDBCF gear avilable at discounted prices for the perfect holiday gifts for family, friends and co-workers.

#ABeaconOfHope

600 Families & Over $450,000.00 in Grant Donations!

600-Families-Web-Banner

600 Families & Over $450,000.00 in Grant Donations! 

Our first event was a party with food donated by Panzone’s Pizza at the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company in December 2010. We assisted our first patient named Molly (13 years old) who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in early 2011. Our initial goal was to provide financial assistance to 1-2 families per year who were affected by a cancer diagnosis. Our original theme was, “Saving Lives by Fighting Cancer Together.” We were able to assist 20 families in 2011 with another 50 families supported in 2012. The increased demand for support from families battling a cancer diagnosis in our local community and the New Jersey community at large skyrocketed in 2013. Our mission statement and focus was steadfast from day one – to offer financial assistance to our families. As we pursued this mission we began to see the “little engine that could” called David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation transform into a vehicle of HOPE for our patients and their families. Our renewed theme became, “A Beacon of Hope.”

The past three and a half years have resulted in an additional 530 families being offered financial assistance, services and hope! A total of 600 families & over $450,000.00 in grant donations are staggering numbers on so many levels. However, it’s our personal connection to each of our patients and their families that inspire us on a daily basis.

This monumental giving would not be possible without the support of so many and have to start with recognizing the original Board of Directors including Co-Founder Tim Hall who remains an active member of the Board and is currently serving as our Treasurer. Our Board of Directors past and present serve on a 100% volunteer basis. They all have their own families, work and other charitable commitments yet still choose to dedicate time to serve our families. Our business sponsors and individual donors have made it possible for us to offer financial assistance to 600 families and have invested themselves in our mission to help countless more. Equity Prime Mortgage in Manahawkin is the shining example of this giving spirit as they created a planned giving initiative with guidance from our Director Dani Corso to donate $25.00 from every closed loan out of their Manahawkin office to DDBCF and our families battling cancer. This creative planned giving initiative resulted in a 2015 year-end donation of $18,000.00 to DDBCF. We have the most amazing volunteers who commit their time and energy throughout the year to support an event or activity that benefits our families battling cancer. We have our own youth group called Generation Dream created by Kim McCabe Manzella as well as student groups at Southern Regional High School and Stockton University. The 7 members of our brand new Directors of Patient Advocacy represent the 600 patients and families we have supported over the past 5+ years. All 7 members have been affected by a cancer diagnosis and have been directly impacted by David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. They all have chosen to serve as advocates and Beacons of Hope!

I read something during my battle with stage iv head and neck cancer: “Kindness is the shadow of God in man.” Those beautiful shadows were never more present than during my battle with stage iv head and neck cancer in 2010 but they have reappeared time and time again through the mission of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.

We encourage you to join with our team us as A Beacon of Hope!

Sincerely,
David

4th Annual Frank V. Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin Wrap-Up

 

Frank V. Panzone Jr.Our 2016 Frank V. Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure presented by Barlow Buick GMC of Manahawkin Wrap-Up will be brimming with Love, Kindness and Hope. Thanks to the Major takeaway from this year’s event which was the introduction of our David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation brand new Patient Advocate Committee. Dawn Aversa, Tina Angers, Susie Buzby, Elizabeth Martinez, Patty Springstead and Lauren & Bill Raney comprise this new committee. All 7 members were in attendance and 4 of the members (Dawn, Lauren, Tina and Susie) bared their souls with first-hand accounts of how the Foundation has impacted their lives and the lives of their families. It’s hard to put extraordinary moments like this one into words because moments like the one above transcend words. We can tell you that the IMPACT from this extraordinary moment is still being felt today in the hearts of our patients, guests, sponsors, volunteers, directors and everybody in attendance at our 4th Annual FVP Memorial Cruisin for a Cure. We have known and embraced one fact about our mission behind the scenes since DDBCF was created 5 years ago and that is that our patients and their families come before anything else. Needless to say, we have found the true voice of the Foundation in our amazing PAC!

We want to thank the entire Panzone Family for their friendship, support and service since the very beginning. The event was renamed in 2013 to the Frank V. Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure to honor Frank’s commitment to his community and desire to help those battling a cancer diagnosis. As a Foundation, we are proud to have this event in Frank’s honor and so grateful to have his family by our side throughout the year!

A very special thank you this year to our Presenting Sponsor: Barlow Buick GMC of Manahawkin! The Barlow Family did not hesitate for a minute when asked to be the Presenting Sponsor for this event and continually asked throughout the months and days leading up to the event, “what else can we do to support the mission of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation?” We thank you for your commitment to support local families battling a cancer diagnosis. We had a total of 49 sponsors for this event which set a new record and all of you play a major role in serving as A Beacon of Hope for our families. Thank you!

We want to thank our local businesses who donated their time and amazing food to our event including: Panzone’s Pizza, El Swell and Shore Fire Grille. r beautiful and delicious cake was donated by Moester’s Bakery! OuWe also had ice cream from our friends at Piece of the Puzzle who do a great job at SRHS in the autism program. Thank you to our host venue and awesome staff from Joe Pop’s Shore Bar & Restaurant. We are grateful that Live Music was once again provided by: Jason Booth and Ted Hammock who always set the tone for positive vibes! This year, we had our friends from Party Crashers Gaming Trailer donate the use of their gaming trailer for the kids and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Our Board of Directors, Auction Donors, Committee Members and Volunteers are second to none. Support comes in so many different forms besides financial and each one of them plays a vital role in the support for our families battling a cancer diagnosis. A special shout-out to Officer Kevin Snow from the Harvey Cedars Police Dept. and all the Police Dept.’s that were lined up to support our ride this year!

Thank you to the men, women and families that continually support our events. Weather played a major factor in this year’s event but you never let it dampen your spirit or commitment to the Foundation. We were even able to make a small donation of non-perishable food items to our friends at the Hunger Foundation of Southern Ocean. Your generosity of spirit knows no boundaries and we love you for it!

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Barlow Buick GMC in Manahawkin | Cruisin for a Cure

Barlow Buick GMC in Manahawkin

 

We want to thank the Barlow Family and Staff at Barlow Buick GMC in Manahawkin for stepping up this year as the First-Ever Presenting Sponsor for the 4th Annual Frank V. Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure on Sunday May 1st! We appreciate their commitment to support the families of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation battling a cancer diagnosis.

We cannot stress this enough but please support the businesses like Barlow Buick GMC in Manahawkin that make it a priority throughout the year to support our families affected by a cancer diagnosis.

Thank you to the Barlow Family and Staff at Barlow Buick GMC in Manahawkin!

Stockton University Tabling Event | 3-22-2016

Stockton University Tabling EventWe had a phenomenal day at Stockton University with Dr. Ai Zhang’s Advanced Public Relations classes on Tuesday March 22nd. Students Lauren Rowek and Danielle Horneff put together this blog about the event. A special thanks to Dr. Ai and all the students who participated in this great day!

Please click on the link below to read all about it.

Stockton University Tabling Event

 

Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club | Sponsor Spotlight | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club
Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club

We want to continue highlighting our business sponsors that have donated in excess of $10,000.00 in 2015 and have made a long-term commitment to support David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

Our friends at the Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club stepped up their donations to DDBCF through various forms of giving in 2015. It came in the form of event sponsorships, memorial donations and this year’s 19th Annual Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club Striped Bass Derby. The icing on the cake for the families of DDBCF was Mike and Jaimee Boyle’s Holiday Party. They asked their friends to attend the party but requested no gifts and only donations for a particular husband and daughter family of DDBCF that are currently living in a motel after the wife/mother passed away from cancer earlier this year. It’s the “Generosity of Spirit” displayed by the entire Hughes Family and their amazing staff throughout the year that affords DDBCF the opportunity to assist those families like the one above affected by a cancer diagnosis!

We have held our Island Gala at the Sea Shell Resort & Beach for the past 3 years. The partnership between the two organizations grows stronger every day. A special thank you to Tom, Jaimee and Brittany for working so dilligently to ensure our Island Gala is a complete success each and every year. It’s a testament to the Hughes family and their staff when our guests inform us they felt like they were attending a family party. That’s exactly how all of us feel and we really hope you support the sponsors like the Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club that make giving to the families of DDBCF a priority for not only their business but also in their personal lives!

Thank you!

My 5 Year Cancer-Free Testimonial | David Caldarella | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

Sunrise

“You Have Cancer!”

Those are the words I heard on April 20, 2010 and on April 22nd 2010; I heard it was Stage IV Head & Neck Cancer! The following 7 months of my ongoing battle with cancer proved to be nothing short of hell on earth. It was my faith in God and the love from family, friends and strangers that buoyed my courage to continue to fight. It was a medical team that showed no limits in their compassion for supporting me then and that continues today! Lastly, it was the Dream and Action of creating a charity to make my nephew and nieces proud of their uncle that would “Pay it Forward” long after my life were to end whether that was during my battle with cancer or many years later. Thankfully, we are at the many years later and 5 years to be exact!

David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation is on the doorstep of offering financial assistance, services and HOPE to 500 families in less than 5 years. 200+ families just in 2015! This generosity of spirit, compassion and love would not be possible were it not for YOU. YOU are the individual donors that attend events, create fundraisers and make a general donation or sign up for planned giving. YOU are the business that sponsors an event, create fundraisers and make a general donation or finds a creative way to offer planned giving to DDBCF. YOU are the volunteers that selflessly give up your time to assist us with an event or serve on a committee. YOU are the individuals or businesses that donate auction items or food to an event. YOU are the students in elementary, middle, high school or colleges that sign up to volunteer on behalf of the Foundation. YOU are the family and friends that not only support the Foundation but stand by me and understand that this is my mission in life. YOU are the girlfriend that stands by my side, donates, volunteers and works on committees for the Foundation.  YOU are the directors that have served or currently serve on a 100% volunteer basis and give your talents, time and heart to the families of this Foundation! YOU are the PATIENTS and FAMILIES battling a cancer diagnosis and those PATIENTS who have courageously lost their battle to cancer that inspire all of us. YOU are all reasons we have been able to offer HOPE to 500 families!

I spent the anniversary of my 5 years cancer-free with a new friend at the Baseball Park where his son had practice. I was introduced back in April by a mutual friend when she learned of his similar diagnosis to mine. We have spoken numerous times throughout the past 7 months during his almost identical surgeries, radiation and chemo. He has completed his radiation and chemo and had his last surgery about 55 days ago. We talked for quite some time and shared our similar experiences. 3 things stuck out more than anything else. He asked if the pain would ever stop. I remember the horrific and constant pain like it was yesterday. I not only understood his pain but I assured him he was in the home stretch and to keep the faith. Next, he brought a cooler with water for both of us. The pain reared up again when he would drink his water. I remember that awful feeling when even drinking water felt like you were drinking charred glass. Lastly but most importantly, he told me he got a call from his doctor on his way to meet me that he was CANCER-FREE!  I informed him that the same day was my 5 years CANCER-FREE anniversary!

I am truly grateful for today and I’m elated when God blesses me with a new sunrise tomorrow! I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and support for DDBCF!

Dream & Believe, David

 

 

 

 

2014 Dream & Believe Accomplishments

2014 Dream & Believe Accomplishments
2014 Dream & Believe Accomplishments

During my battle with Stage IV head & neck cancer in 2010, I was blessed to be surrounded by amazing family, friends, doctors, nurses, caregivers and even strangers offering their prayers, love, support and providing me with HOPE. David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation was forged on those very principles of: kindness, generosity of spirit, faith, hope and love that were ever-present during my cancer journey. An overwhelming desire to “Pay it Forward” crystallized the “Dream” and a group of friends ‘Believed” in that Dream. We set out to offer financial assistance and ignite HOPE in the hearts of a couple patients per year…Fast Forward 4 years…

As of December 31st 2014 (4 years), we have supplied financial assistance and provided HOPE to 325 families!

2014 proved to be a momentous year for the Foundation with a multitude of significant accomplishments as listed in the attached summary but none more important than our mission to provide financial assistance, services and HOPE to our families affected by a cancer diagnosis. All of us at David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation want to thank our patients for inspiring us each and every day. We lost several inspirational members from the DDBCF patient family in 2014 but want your families to know, we carry their spirit with us every day!

Thank you to the many businesses, sponsors, auction donors and volunteers!

Thank you to the parents and kids from our youth group, Generation Dream. This motivated, talented and compassionate group of kids are determined to make a positive impact in the lives of our patients and their families.

A special thank you to our Board of Directors (Tim Hall, Melanie Magaziner, Kelly Powers, Kevin Price, Kim Manzella, Kristin Panzone, Jillian Elsasser & Danielle Corso) who serve the mission of the Foundation on a 100% volunteer basis!

Please take a minute to look back on 2014 with us in the attached summary of accomplishments. Please know that if you attended one of our events, donated an auction item, sponsored an event, volunteered or just made a donation – YOU are responsible for providing HOPE to a family diagnosed with cancer that needs our help. THANK YOU!

We HOPE that you will continue to Dream & Believe with us!

David

 2014 Dream & Believe Accomplishments