Someone To Be Proud Of | By: Mattison Clark

Officer Fritz, Mattison Clark & David
Officer Fritz, Mattison Clark & David

10 year old Mattison Clark is a student at Stafford Township Intermediate School and was selected to read her essay about her role model as part of the D.A.R.E program. This program is led by Officer Chris Fritz from Stafford Township Police Department. Mattison has been a member of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation’s youth group Generation Dream since its’ inception. Matty’s mom Renee was joined by Board of Director members Kim McCabe Manzella, Dani Corso and Co-Founder David Caldarella who was the subject of Matty’s essay. Below is the text from Matty’s essay and we just want everybody to know that Mattison has a beautiful soul and we know she will accomplish great things in the future! We love you Matty!

“Close your eyes and think of your perfect role model. Maybe he is famous, maybe he is strong, brave, caring, sincere and all around who you would see as a great role model. To me it is funny how people sometimes overlook those who can be great role models because they aren’t famous. Most people choose family members as their role model. My role model is a man special to me that is not my family, but he feels like it. His name is David and if you went out and asked the world who David Caldarella is the people of Manahawkin, New Jersey would know him. David runs David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. David is my role model for so many different reasons. He is inspiring, kind, and strong mentally and physically. David will always be my role model, because even though he isn’t famous he is the best man I know.

To Start off, David was just any ordinary man until cancer struck. David battled stage four squamous cell carcinoma(car-see-no-ma) and had a 5% chance to live. On November 11th, 2010, David Caldarella became a stage four cancer survivor. David then created a foundation for families in the local radius of Long Beach Island to around Tuckerton. He fundraises to provide patients with the things they need. He has inspired me to be a better person and help people. I volunteer for his Foundation and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be who I am today. David leads his life with happiness to be in this world and spreads inspiration everywhere.

Moving on, as I said David battled cancer. As David was in the hospital being sick and facing the possibility of death, he was thinking about other people like him trying to survive this horrible part of their life. David’s story got to the public and he had strangers visiting him just because they heard his story and wanted to be the smile that lit up his day. David had so many people care about him and thought, when I get out of the hospital I will care for people like me. Being part of the Foundation I’ve heard his story a million times. I’m not tired of it, actually to this very day his story gets me very time and makes me grateful for what I have. David created David’s Dream out of the kindness of his heart. The same kindness lead me to help raise money, make meals, give toys, and care for everybody. I wouldn’t be who I am without David’s inspiration.

Lastly, I’ve had so many people in my family who died of cancer. To know someone with stage four cancer and survive makes me think if he can be that strong mentally and physically, so can I. David worked through a lot of pain to get to be where he is today. David knew he was sick for about eight months. He had to do a lot of chemotherapy and surgeries. Today David stands tall, proud of the things he has accomplished, and proud to be who he is. Cancer beats your brain and body. David was probably trying to wrap his head around what was happening to him when he first found out. David didn’t sink to the calling pain of death. He stood tall in the end and is free of cancer, stronger than ever, and an amazing man doing amazing things.

In conclusion, David lives cancer free, drug free, and doesn’t abuse alcohol. David took the time he had when he was in the hospital and used it to make a great foundation that helps a lot of people. David is inspiring, kind, and strong. I couldn’t be more proud of David and I hope he sees me like that too. David is the best man I know and I know he can go even farther than he already has. David will always be my role model and nothing can change that. David is my beacon of my hope.” Mattison Clark

Survival of the Mills | Ocean Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

Survival of the Mills
Survival of the Mills

We are excited for the 2nd Annual Survival of the Mills on Sunday October 11, 2015 presented by Trident Multisport to benefit David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. Our main event sponsor remains Ocean Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine Wellness Center in Manahawkin, NJ!  Owners Kim & John Manzella and their staff have been ardent supporters of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation since the inception of the Foundation. We also want to thank our friend & Race Director Ross Reynolds at Trident Multisport for creating this unique, scenic and demanding race.

Please visit Survival of the Mills for more information about the race and to register for this incredible event!

Click on below attachment for more information regarding Sponsorship & Food/Drink opportunities. Please contact David Caldarella at or Kim Manzella at to reserve your sponsorship!

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

Sponsorship Form

Event Flyer
Event Flyer


Hero of Hope Award | David Caldarella | David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation | Academy of Oncology Nurses & Patient Navigators |

Hero of Hope Nominee  David Caldarella
Hero of Hope Nominee
David Caldarella
A Note From David Caldarella, Co-Founder & Executive Director:
I was humbled and honored to hear that I was selected as 1 of 4 finalists for the 2015 Hero of Hope Award by the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators. This nomination is very special because it emanates from Oncology Nurses and Patient Navigators who recognized the critical work and mission of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation. In particular, Elizabeth Martinez from Southern Ocean Medical Center who nominated me and who should be nominated herself! It’s very difficult to hear life and death struggles everyday but it’s a special person that rises above to help. Oncology nurses and patient navigators do that on a daily basis so to be recognized by that same group of amazing individuals is truly overwhelming! The recognition of being nominated is a confirmation for our Board of DirectorsSponsors, Individual Donors and Volunteers that we are making a difference in the lives of our families battling a cancer diagnosis.
Long Beach Island Resident One of Four
Nominees for National Survivorship Award

LONG BEACH ISLAND – A Long Beach Island man has been named one of four nominees nationwide for the Hero of Hope Patient Award given by the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+).

David Caldarella was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in April 2010. He learned his cancer was extremely aggressive and had already metastasized from his tonsils to the lymph nodes on the right side of his neck and down his throat.

“The news was upsetting on a number of levels,” says Caldarella. “I was in the best shape of my life and had never smoked. Beyond the physical, it hit me emotionally, socially, and financially. It literally changed my life.”

The next month he underwent a tonsillectomy and biopsy, a right neck dissection and transoral robotic surgery to remove the remaining tonsil and tumor. Chemo and radiation quickly followed.

“What got me through this was my family, friends, faith, the kindness of strangers, and the desire to create a legacy that would benefit others and make my nephew and nieces proud.”

That legacy took shape as David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing financial assistance to people who are battling cancer and can’t afford day-to-day necessities.

“I thought about the foundation constantly,” he says. “It would be 2 or 3 in the morning, and I would be trying to figure out how we would fund it, who we would help, and what it is we would do.”

In November 2010, Caldarella received the “all clear” from his surgeon and spent the next two years growing his foundation, which required overseeing four annual fundraising events.

“By 2013, we reached a breaking point,” he explains. “We surpassed our initial goal to help one or two families a year almost immediately. By the time I went full-time and became a salaried employee of the foundation in 2014, we were helping more than 100 people from across New Jersey annually.”

To date, David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation has helped 400 families and has given more than $400,000 in assistance.

As one of the nominees for the Hero of Hope Patient Award, Caldarella’s story will be featured in the August issue of CONQUER: The Patient Voice Magazine.

Voting to select the winner is now open. The winner of the Hero of Hope Patient Award will be announced in early October at AONN’s sixth annual Navigation and Survivorship Conference in Atlanta. The winner will receive a plaque recognizing his/her contributions to the cancer community as well as a donation of $1,000 made to the charity of his/her choice.


About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators 
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc. (AONN+) is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 5,000 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process. For more information visit CONQUER: The Patient Voice Magazine:
CONQUER is the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators’ (AONN+) premier forum for patients with cancer. CONQUER features articles written by and for patients with cancer, survivors, nurse navigators, and other oncology team members. This magazine addresses the issues that patients, their family members, and caregivers face every day in an easy-to-read format. Issues include interviews with patients with cancer, information on access to care, and articles on lifestyle topics such as nutrition, stress management, personal finance, and legal and employer issues. CONQUER also features patient stories that are nominated for the AONN+ HERO OF HOPETM award, which will be presented at the AONN+ Annual Conference. All stories are compiled in a special issue of CONQUER at the end of the year. For more information visit

About David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds to provide financial assistance and services to families primarily in New Jersey affected by a cancer diagnosis.  David Caldarella, Co-Founder and Stage IV cancer survivor, established David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation in 2010.  His journey of living through Stage IV cancer inspired him to dedicate his life to helping other individuals, affected by a cancer diagnosis.  David spends most of his time being with these families and has been an amazing support person in all their lives.  To date, the Foundation has assisted 325 patients in 4 years, and donated over $300,000 to families afflicted by cancer.  Donations are used towards a multitude of services for the family battling a cancer diagnosis including financial assistance for medications, treatments, transportation, rent, mortgage and utility bills.

For further information, please visit