Scarpa Cancer Center
"The thought behind the care packages donated to our infusion center, really shows our patients that they are cared for and most importantly, that the community cares for them. Since the pandemic, many patients have had to be alone during their chemotherapy treatments and really missing the support of their families. These care packages make them feel less alone during a very uncertain and scary time in their lives. The appreciation and joy that we see on our patients faces when they receive these care packages is sincere and heartfelt and some even have even been brought to “happy” tears when receiving the gift and the personal messages of hope.
Jami DeNigris MSN, RN, OCN
Director of Cancer Services
Vineland Scarpa Cancer Center/Mullica Hill LECC
June 05, 2022
Learning to Let Others Help You
Staying Connected to Penn
When Monique moved to Michigan in 2014, she never lost touch with Penn. In fact, it was her Penn social work team who connected Monique to an area cancer center where she could continue treatments. “I was comforted that Penn was following me,” said Monique, “and I liked that they met me where I was.”
That level of compassion and dedication helped lead her back to Penn — first as a nurse in the ICU at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and then in 2019, as a postpartum nurse, assisting mothers immediately after they had given birth.
Unfortunately, Monique began to experience concerning symptoms that led her care team at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center to suspect her cancer had recurred. Courtney A. Gabriel, MD, MSCE, moved quickly to set into motion a series of tests proving their worst fear —Monique now had metastatic breast cancer.
As a young mother, such a diagnosis is harrowing. Dr. Gabriel helped Monique adjust and regain some control, making connections to help her expand her community of support. This was not a situation to be dealt with alone. There were treatments, and there were also the everyday matters to continue to attend to. She was facing a serious drain on her money and resources—not to mention taking care of an active teenager with friends, basketball practice, and school to keep up with.
Help from The Pink Clover Foundation
Monique's social work team encouraged her to apply to the Pink Clover Foundation. Founded by Sam Sorbello, in memory of his wife Colleen, Pink Clover is dedicated to providing financial support to ease the burden cancer can bring to patients and families.
A few weeks later, while Monique was at the hospital for treatments, she received a call from Sam saying they had read her story and wanted to help. He couldn’t have known how critical the timing of that call was, but for Monique that extra kindness came at a moment when she was overwhelmed with growing fears of the pandemic and increases in household expenses. Her family had been as supportive as possible, but Monique needed a bigger community to help her refocus on her health.
That call renewed her faith. The Pink Clover Foundation supports breast cancer research and education, as well as comfort to women who are struggling during their fight against cancer. Their assistance can take the form of ministry, visitation, and grants — all of which Monique desperately needed.
Pink Clover subsidized Monique’s rent so that she was able to keep her son in the same high school district, “They helped me back on my feet. They helped me limit changes in my son’s life at a time when we were both already adjusting to so much because of my health,” says Monique.
One of the other opportunities at the ACC, particularly for patients facing metastatic disease, is to be part of clinical trials — to help inform and improve therapies. True to Monique’s strength and bright character, she is participating in a study led by Payal D. Shah, MD, which uses a novel approach to shrink tumors.
Life After Treatment
Monique’s son is thriving in sports, and the two continue to have hard and honest conversations about her health. Through all of her struggles and sacrifices, she has maintained her positive and warm demeanor and credits a strong support system for making that possible, “The little things are major things. Having family and friends — and a great care team who I also count as friends — around you is what truly matters. If you have that you can take on anything the world throws at you,” says Monique.
Mi nombre es Andrea Herrera a mis 30 años de edad fui diagnosticada con cancer de mama para mi fue muy fuerte porque al principio estaba muy cerrada y sencible al saber mi diagnostico ya que en mi familia no hay historial medico de cancer al no poder creer que algo asi me estaba sucediendo a mi.
Luego de hablar con los medicos y entender todo para empezar mi tratamiento tuve la dicha de ser nominada por la fundacion Pink Clover Collen Sorbello Breast Cancer en Octubre del 2021. Son personas extremadamente hermosas que desde el momento que me vieron me hicieron sentir super querida, apoya y especial me hicieron sentir que no estaba sola que podia contar con ellos.
Estoy muy agradecida con Dios primeramente y con la vida por ponerlos en mi camino y ser parte de mi durante esta batalla. No me cansare de agradecerles todos los bellos detalles que han tenido conmigo, mis hijas y familia, para nosotros significa mucho Tambien por tenerme en sus oraciones desde el dia uno.
“When you find yourself reeling from a diagnosis, grasping the reality; the one that carved life into two halves – before cancer and after cancer – floundering in the dark, praying for a pinhole for a glimpse of light – the Pink Clover Foundation is that light, and not a tiny ray; but the sun of a perfect beach day, glittering the waves. I call it Hope – Pink Clover is Hope – when it’s all coming down around you, (because that’s the cruelty of cancer – no part of life is exempt) unexpectedly…caring, loving arms find you, pull you in – and stay with you – they are family - Forever grateful for my family – truly, life would not look the same without them! God Bless! ”