Patient Advocate Committee

Patient Advocate Committee!

On February 15th 2016, Director Dani Corso and Co-Founder David Caldarella visited Dr. Ai Zhang’s Advanced Public Relations and Social Media Classes at Stockton University. Dr. Ai and her students always deliver an intensely positive discussion surrounding the mission of the Foundation. We are grateful to be working with two awesome student groups again this semester. It was during our February 15th visit that the concept to create a Patient Advocate Committee (PAC) within David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation (DDBCF) was born!

Our Patient Advocate Committee  consists of the very people who inspire us on a daily basis: patients,  caregivers and medical personnel. This PAC will spread awareness on the impact the Foundation has with our families battling cancer because our PAC have witnessed this first-hand. They will also be able to offer support and HOPE to our current families battling cancer that will help the healing process for everybody involved. We asked 7 people to join our Patient Advocate Committee and all 7 responded with a Resounding YES!

We want to welcome: Dawn Aversa, Elizabeth Martinez, Patty Springstead, Susie Buzby, Tina Angers and Lauren & Bill Raney. We have 3 patients, 4 caregivers, 1 oncology nurse navigator and 1 married couple. We are honored to have them join us with such a strong desire to help others and bring light to so many others battling this deadly disease! #ABeaconOfHope

Tina Angers
Tina Angers
Susie Buzby
Susie Buzby
Patty Springstead
Patty Springstead
Elizabeth Martinez
Elizabeth Martinez
Lauren Raney
Lauren Raney
Dawn Aversa
Dawn Aversa
Bill Raney
Bill Raney

Gilooly Testimonial

A Beacon of Hope
A Beacon of Hope

A new feature on our Facebook page for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation is our Tuesday Testimonials. This affords our patients, caregivers and medical personnel the opportunity to express themselves and to let everybody know what DDBCF has meant to them.

We were introduced to the Gilooly family by a very dear mutual friend Kristin, who asked if the Foundation could come to the aide of this family. Here is what the Gilooly family wrote to us about their personal experience with DDBCF.

“When I first got diagnosed with Cancer in the head and neck area, myself and my family felt not only scared of the unknown but alone in the sense that we felt no one really understood what we’re we’re going through.  I was directed by a close friend of David’s, to read his story/testimony and I was blown away how close it was to our story.  We both shared the same exact diagnosis and immediately we felt we weren’t so alone.  David helped my family and I resolve one of my hospital bills and it was not only timely but so appreciated.  We are so grateful for this foundation and have a ton respect for David and his relentless dedication to it.  David started working on this foundation when he was still going through treatment and knowing how I felt at that time, I can’t imagine.  David is a special man and he is truly doing God’s work!  Thank you for helping our family David.”

Patient Testimonial | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

The following Patient Testimonial comes from our friend Lee. This is a heartfelt and beautifully written testimonial that describes the struggle of a cancer patient as well as the eventual impact of financial and emotional support offered by David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. Thank you for sharing Lee!!!

 

“Dear David and Team,

My heart is filled with joy and appreciation. This week is the first one since July 2014 during which I have not had a medical test, operation, treatment or other medical procedure. I am so grateful to have emerged on the other side of my experience with cancer as well as I have.

From July of last year until this week, my life revolved around regaining my health. Some weeks I had my chemo treatment, others were filled with various tests, two operations, and most recently, I traveled three hours per day, five days a week for six weeks for my radiation treatment. It has been a long and challenging experience, as you know all too well.

Based upon my experience, I would share with anyone who hears those awful words from their doctor, “It’s cancer,” a few insights. First and foremost, everyone’s experience is uniquely their own. If they were interested, I would share that I felt I was punched in the face at least once a week for 10 months. Each week was another hurdle, another challenge, another “new normal.” Also, that “punch” may come in the form of test results, an additional treatment, physical pain, emotional challenges, or financial burdens. However, though I am scarred, poorer, and forever changed, I am also wiser, more appreciative, and grateful. . . very, very grateful.

The financial burden of cancer is one important and often overlooked part of this challenge. Though I have health insurance, the bills are awful. Unfortunately, I met my maximum out-of-pocket expense twice, once in 2014 and again in 2015. It is a lot of money. Though I could keep my head above water at the beginning, as the medical bills kept coming, it seemed like waves of water that kept coming, one after another. Though I’ve never asked for help before in my life, I realized that some relief, any relief, would help. I applied to several organizations for financial help and then waited, with fingers and toes crossed, for some help. Perhaps some organization could provide some help. Perhaps.

I remember the evening that you called me. I was sitting in my room, alone, searching the Internet for any organizations that could help me financially. Maybe some organization could pay one bill? My friends and I have helped raise money for many philanthropies throughout our lives. Now I needed some help. Who would help me when I needed it? When I answered the phone and you introduced yourself, I felt a weight was lifted. You understood my experiences, you understood my concerns. You know what it’s like to tackle, and beat, cancer to then face financial debt, a lot of debt.

Your generous offer to pay one of my bills filled my heart with such appreciation. That was one less obstacle I had to overcome. You made a difference, a tremendous difference. I am forever grateful that you, David and the entire team, work so hard to help me and others like me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

With love, Lee”

 

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

All of us at David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation want to wish everyone Happy Holidays from our family to yours! We want to thank our tremendous donors, sponsors and volunteers who afford us the opportunity to offer Hope to our families.

Thank you to the parents & children from our youth service group “Generation Dream” who remind us: “Giving begins with the person in the mirror & together we can create a tidal wave of Kindness, Love and Hope!

A very special thanks to the patients and families that have touched our lives this year.  You inspire us on a daily basis by sharing your indomitable spirit with us on a daily basis and you continue to do more for us than we ever could do for you!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz
Wizard of Oz

David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation is proud to partner with our friends at The Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven NJ for a special Holiday presentation of The Wizard of Oz for local families battling cancer.

On Saturday December 20th at 2pm, approx. 15 families battling cancer  will be treated to an Amazing Show! The Wizard of Oz at The Surflight Theatre  are receiving rave reviews like the one below from BroadwayWorld.

We have additional tickets for the same show on Saturday December 20th at a very discounted price. Please message David Caldarella: david@davidsdreamandbelieve.org for more information!

ROCKTOBERFEST Wrap-Up!

Rocktoberfest
Rocktoberfest

 

We were approached by some members of the Beach Haven Moose Riders last night while we were putting the finishing touches on an absolutely beautiful and amazing 2nd Annual Rocktoberfest! The sentiment was the same and it was one of shared disappointment with the final $ total. Our friends at the Beach Haven Moose Riders have set extremely lofty goals for themselves and their partnership with David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. Their lofty goals can only be matched by their enormous hearts! We informed our friends rather quickly that they’re making a HUGE impact in the lives of our families battling a cancer diagnosis! A tank of gas to and from the doctors/treatments can be a heavy burden for a family battling cancer! Rocktoberfest presented by our friends at the Beach Haven Moose Riders to benefit David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation raised approx. $9,000.00 yesterday, which will not only provide gas cards for our families battling cancer but also: medical bill assistance, rent/mortgage assistance, utilities assistance, grocery gift cards & incidentals.

The physical and emotional toll on the cancer patient and their caregivers are relentless. However, it becomes even worse when you consider the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis.  A recent study in the Journal of Oncology Practice titled: Impact of Financial Burden of Cancer on Survivors’ Quality of Life?, concluded Increased financial burden as a result of cancer care costs is the strongest independent predictor of poor quality of life among cancer survivors! It’s clear that financial strain has a very powerful impact on a cancer patient’s perception of well-being. David’s Dream & Believe is only able to support our families battling a cancer diagnosis because of events like this one!

We could not be happier or more proud as an organization to partner with an amazing group of individuals dedicated to giving back to the community like our friends at the Beach Haven Moose Riders! We would also like to thank: Beach Haven Moose Lodge #175, The Dutchman’s Brauhaus, Shop Rite Manahawkin, Party Crashers, Wealth Management Group, The Wandering Gypsea, Fritz Electric, The 559, Wildcard and Generation Dream. Generation Dream is the youth sub-group of David’s Dream & Believe committed to supporting our families battling cancer and generating a ripple effect of kindness, hope & love!

Last but certainly not least, thank you to our incredible supporters who attend our events and make the decision time and time again to donate your hard earned money to assist our families battling cancer. This is a gesture that never goes unrecognized in our eyes and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

 

ROCKTOBERFEST presented by Beach Haven Moose Riders

Rocktoberfest
Rocktoberfest

 

Please join us this Saturday September 20th at the Beach Haven NJ Moose Lodge 1575, 120 Rt. 72 East, Manahawkin NJ 08050 between 1-6pm for the 2nd Annual Rocktoberfest presented by Beach Haven Moose Riders to benefit David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation with special guests: Fritz Electric, Wildcard and The 559!

$25.00 per person and kids 12 & under are free! There will be a bouncy house, video game trailer and face painters for the kids. Food, beer, wine, incredible auction items and LIVE Music! You can purchase tickets in advance at the Beach Haven Moose Lodge or purchase tickets day of event!

Our youth group called Generation Dream will be at the party selling t-shirts. Please join us on Saturday for a fun-filled family event that benefits our local families battling a cancer diagnosis!

Thank you to our friends with the Beach Haven Moose Riders for their continued support with Rocktoberfest and throughout the year!

Reynolds to the Rescue!!!

A few weeks ago, we sent an urgent S.O.S. to our supporters asking for help with one of our patients struggling with the burdens of a cancer diagnosis from our local hospital Southern Ocean Medical Center.  That call was answered within 24 hours by our friends the Reynolds family who own Reynolds Garden Shop & Landscaping in Manahawkin. Our patient is on a very low fixed income per month and was due to unforeseen circumstances going to be without a place to live starting July 1st. David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation was not going to let this happen and the Reynolds family partnered with us on this new mission. We also worked very closely with the nurse navigators at Southern Ocean Medical Center. The end result of meetings with the nurse navigators, multiple meetings with the Reynolds family usually at 5am, the use of a Reynolds box truck, Reynolds crew for a day and one of our directors assisting us last Saturday was our patient has a safe and comfortable home! This will give her time to focus on healing and allow her time to look for a more long-term living arrangement! We are blessed to work alongside so many amazing families and local businesses dedicated to serving our community. We could not have pulled off this major undertaking without the support from the Reynolds family!

THANK YOU REYNOLDS FAMILY!

Reynolds Garden Shop & Landscaping
Reynolds Garden Shop & Landscaping

 

Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure Wrap-Up

THANK YOU! That is the major theme for this wrap-up of the 2nd Annual Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure! Jillian Elsasser (Panzone) got the planning started for our 2nd Annual Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure with an email after she had just left our Crabbin for a Cure event at Mud City Crab House on October 23rd. There were countless meetings, phone calls, emails and tireless efforts from so many for the better part of 7 months all to make sure our guests were going to have a good time at this year’s event but ultimately our goal is to always try to raise the highest amount of donations possible so we could support our patients/families battling a cancer diagnosis. The end result from those tireless efforts was a current donation total of $36,000+ and counting (doubling last year’s total) and a subsequent email was sent to SOMC this morning telling them we will be ready to start accepting new patient applications on June 1st. This is only made possible by the overwhelming generosity of our Committee Members, Guests, Cruisers, Sponsors, Auction Donors, Food Vendors, Musicians, Volunteers, owner Danielle Pessolano and staff from Joe Pop’s Shore Bar & Restaurant and our Main Event Sponsor Panzone’s Pizza and the Panzone Family!  We must single out a few key people and we need to start with the Panzone family: Joyce Panzone, Kristin Panzone, Jillian Elsasser (Panzone), Jillian’s husband Todd Elsasser and Kristin’s boyfriend John. All of us at David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation are honored to have Kristin and Jillian join the Board of Directors for the Foundation. We would not be able to pull off this amazing event without Kristin and Jillian’s efforts. We will just tell you that they’re both responsible for managing every aspect of this year’s event and Kristin is the creative genius behind our logo, fliers, signs, social media images and new to this year’s event our Cruisin Fashion Collection which will be up on our website in a day or two. They were the ones that purchased ALL the candy for the Panzone’s Cruisin Candy Drive for the past 6 months and anything else remotely attached to this event. A special thanks goes out to Catherine Deely for all of her efforts recruiting new sponsors, soliciting auction donors and setting up the auction at Joe Pop’s. Catherine has worked for the Panzone family since she was 14 and looked up to Frank as a second father her entire life. Her work on this event is a labor of love and tribute to the pay it forward mentality of her hero Frank Panzone! Finally, thank you to our namesake and HERO for this event Frank V Panzone Jr. For those that don’t know, we renamed our Cruisin for a Cure event the Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure to honor and pay tribute to a man that spent his life giving to his community. We could go on and on about Chowderfest, Chamber of Commerce President but we like to think about that first Cruisin for a Cure when Frank rode his Harley in terrible weather conditions with his daughter Jillian on the back of his bike while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments of his own. It was important for him to ride in the midst of his own pain to benefit others battling this deadly disease!

Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Frank created a tidal wave and we are honored to pay tribute to him with this event that will continue to serve patients and families in dire need of our assistance. Thank you to everybody that took part in our 2nd Annual Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure! See you next year!

Thank you,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          David

Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure
Frank V Panzone Jr. Memorial Cruisin for a Cure