Annual Charity

PSPA HOST CITY CHARITY – 2017
The PSPA contact for the Host City Charity is Heather Shevchik-O’Brien hshevchik@gmail.com.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the 2017 PSPA charity.

Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia is an organization that provides comprehensive support and care not only to those diagnosed with cancer, but also to their families and friends.

The organization has unique roots. In 1982 Dr. Harold Benjamin and his wife Harriet (who was diagnosed with breast cancer) opened The Wellness Community.  The Benjamins wanted to provide the same strength and encouragement to others that they had received from their family and friends. Gilda Radner, an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, was diagnosed with cancer and became a huge advocate for the Wellness Community. Ms. Radnor organized the Gilda’s Club for cancer patients and family. These two organizations merged and in 2013, the local organization was designated the Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia.

This amazing organization ensures that cancer patients and their families and friends “are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community”. It provides free services for support, presents educational programs, raises funds, and offers various social activities for members to participate in, whether children or adults.

Please visit their website at http://cancersupportphiladelphia.org/ for more information.

A huge thank you for the PSPA members, schools, students and faculty for making the 2017 charity such a great success once again this year! This year we were able to raise an amazing $6,162.25 for our host city charity, Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia (CSCGP). Our highest monetary donation came from Lock Haven University and the school that gave the most physical donations was Chatham. At lunch we heard an educational talk from the charity’s program director, Joy Ethel Bullard-Moore, about all of the wonderful programs and opportunities with CSCGP. Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia offers free support programs for anyone affected by cancer – any type, any stage. The programs make social, educational, and emotional support available to everyone in an affected family. It was great to see how donations were being put to good use – with support going directly to the families who needed them the most.

At the conference, Board Chair Ralph Zuccari came in the evening to accept the check for the charity, and during that time we spoke about the students ( how energetic, intelligent, and spirited they were!) and about CSCGP. Due to time constrains he was not able to share a special story that evening and offered us permission to share it now with our members. It is a moving story showing that donating to amazing organizations such as CSCGP can make a large impact in someone’s life.

Starting in 2004 the Boyes family became indirectly involved with the CSCGP through the Gilda’s club. John and Arleen’s son Alex chose the Gilda’s Club to complete his Eagle Scout project.  The outdoor barbecue grill was in desperate need of rehabilitation and, in fact, he rebuilt it and dedicated the project to his Mom. Sadly, Alex was then diagnosed with melanoma and became an active participant in the walking and running club. Unfortunately , Alex passed away at age 22 only a few years after completing his project. Despite a broken heart, the couple, married for 31 years, continued to dedicate their efforts at CSCGP. When John’s wife, Arleen, was diagnosed with breast cancer she became an active member attending support programs and was a member of the various volunteer committees. In addition to participating in events and programs, she and John organized the Alex Boyes’ Walk to benefit CSCGP as she courageously battled cancer. Arleen sadly lost that battle in 2013, but her legacy lives on through John and their son Harris.

John and Harris continue to plan and organize the walk every year in both Alex and Arleen’s memories to raise funds for CSCGP programs. In addition John’s behind-the-scenes contributions are remarkable. His “can-do” attitude is inspiring. He has completed over 3000 volunteer hours since 2009 including handyman projects at both CSCGP facilities. John’s incredible dedication includes playing Santa Claus for the past 8 years at the children’s holiday party for 100+ children. John has also convinced his son Harris to play the role of Hanukkah Harry at this year’s holiday event.

The dedication of the Boyes family is inspirational, and truly embodies the spirit of CSCGP.

In addition to support for individuals and families, we learned that our monetary donation will be supporting a number of children participating in a summer camp.  Summer camp allows children to have fun and interact with other kids who are going through a similar, difficult experience. Meals are provided every day, and for some kids, this is their main meal for the day. The camp gives parents a desperately needed break to rest, de-stress, receive treatments and/or attend medical appointments.

Thank you to all who made this year’s event such and amazing success.
This is a great way we, as PSPA members, can give back to such a great community. Looking forward to another successful year in 2018 in the region 5 area at Kalahari!

Further details to follow for PSPA Charity 2018.