Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/17/12
Improving the quality of life for patients and families battling blood cancers is at the heart of the HEADstrong Foundation’s mission. Helping to change the equation by providing assistance, guidance, resources and services to those dealing with Lymphoma, Leukemia and Myeloma is a commitment of the organization.
The non-profit organization only in its 6th year of operation is turning heads with their commitment and grass roots approach to promoting awareness, generating funds and building personalized relationships in the game of lacrosse.
An amazing statistic that is sitting very well with supporters of the organization is that over 90% of the funds generated by the HEADstrong Foundation go directly to support the service offering that they have created to assist families that find themselves in the same shoes that the Colleluori family founded themselves in the wake of HEADstrong Founder Nicholas Colleluori’s diagnosis with Acute Large B-Cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2005.
Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong’s President and Executive Director is now working with the organization in a fulltime capacity, furthering awareness of the organization and growing her son’s vision. HEADstrong Foundation is drawing national attention building a pool of dedicated volunteers, coaches, current and former lacrosse players who are all joining the effort.
The organization’s service model operates independently of other organizations and has been framed by the experience of the Colleluori family and the patient network that they are working with and on behalf of. As funds continue to grow as does the HEADstrong service offering.
A result of that is the recent launch of a new patient advocacy group called HEAD2head™. In an effort to educate people on the impact of their generosity the organization has released just a few of the recent disbursements that they have made.
Having a personal understanding of the financial hardships of fighting blood cancers the HEADstrong Foundation proudly distributes 30% in the form of direct assistance to help struggling families. Thus far the organization dispersed over $200,000 in direct financial assistance in 2012 and has expanded their distribution range to now include pediatrics as well as seniors and are dispersing funds to patients nationally.
Nick’s House™, which is the cornerstone of the HEADstrong Foundation’s service offering, provides complimentary lodging and amenities to incoming patients and families receiving experimental treatment, transplant or specialized treatment at Philadelphia hospitals is at 100% occupancy and has been since it’s opening in 2011.
The organization estimates an annual savings of $139,000 in out of pocket expenses to patients and families staying at Nick’s House™.
The organization is playing an active role in helping patients and families navigate the harrowing ordeal of cancer. Offsetting expenses such as patient parking, meals and other expenses oriented in sustaining normalcy and improving quality of life to patients and their families. HEADstrong estimates that in 2012 they have directly assisted over 300 families in this regard.
Over 25% of contributions to the HEADstrong Foundation are helping to support several research efforts focused on innovate immunotherapy’s and targeted treatment with minimal side effects for patients. The HEADstrong Foundation has most recently awarded $50,000 to the Nicholas E. Colleluori Lymphoma Research Fund at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital under the direction of Dr. Stephen J. Schuster, Director, Lymphoma Program; Director, Lymphoma Translational Research.
Dr. Schuster recently made headlines due to his ground-breaking discovery that a safe, biological vaccine can be developed which triggers a patient’s immune system to attack the cancer cells in their body. This breakthrough has been a capstone achievement in a career that has already significantly advanced the fields of hematology and oncology.
The HEADstrong Foundation is a proud national sponsor of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Societies (LLS) Light The Night Campaign® which helps bring hope to people battling blood cancers. The Foundation’s recent contribution of $25,000 will be directed to lifesaving blood cancer research, free educational materials and events for patients and their families and comprehensive, personalized assistance through LLS’s Information Resource Center.
In addition, the HEADstrong Foundation has recently awarded a $50,000 grant to City of Hope’s Dr. Hau Yu, Professor of Cancer Immunotherapeutic and Tumor Immunology. The grant will be dispersed over a 5 year period. Her research has uncovered a key molecular pathway for cancer survival and growth with the discovery of the protein S1PR1 which plays an instrumental role in lymphoma and that blocking this protein could potentially form the basis for an effective new therapy against this disease.
In 2012, the HEADstrong Foundation has recently awarded over $20,000 in educational scholarships allocated for survivors and/or students pursuing a medical career. Applicants must be in between 18-26 years old having a desire for continuing education or a high school senior who is entering a 4 year accredited institution pursuing a degree in the medical field. Applicants should be in fine standing with their school and must have a 3.0 GPA.
“We want people to see the value in their generosity,” said Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom . “We want people to know that together we have the ability as a community to really make a difference. We are relentless in our efforts and are working diligently to grow our reach in both the lacrosse community and blood cancer community.
“Ninety cents of every dollar raised is going to the fight and the addition $.10 is supporting our administrative team so that we can properly organize and facilitate our efforts. Everyday more and more people are diagnosed with a blood cancer and we seek to be a positive resource to help them navigate their journey back to health and through the process. We exist to walk with the patient and their family through cancer, assuring them that they are not alone. We wish to thank all who have contributed to the success of the HEADstrong Foundation and ask for your continued support, especially as we head into the holidays. There are so many families that will spend the holidays in the hospital and together we can provide them the comforts of home.”
We are defeating blood cancers one shift at a time http://shopheadstrong.com/donate/donation.html/
Learn more about the HEADstrong Foundation at www.HEADstrongfoundation.org