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Cancer House of Hope appeals to community to help sustain services

Date: 7/7/2010

July 7, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- The Cancer House of Hope isn't going to close without a fight.

Gaetana Aliotta, board member and founder of the non-profit organization, told Reminder Publications times are tough and they need help to sustain services for cancer patients and their families long term.

"We need the community to step up because all our grants have been cut in half and corporate donations have dropped," she said. "We want to keep our doors open but we need to reach out to the community for help."

Cheryl Gorski, executive director of the Cancer House of Hope in Springfield and Westfield, said, "Right now we're not really looking to close one house or the other. I can't say anymore at this point."

Robert Ziomek, president of the board, declined to comment.

"Just think of this: a woman comes into the House with a rag in her bra because she can't afford a prosthesis. I say, 'Go in the closet and take a breast prosthesis.' She walked out and wanted to know how much it was going to cost. I replied, 'It's all from the generosity of the people in the community,' Aliotta recalled.

"If we leave where are these people going to go? she continued. "The need is way beyond anyone's comprehension."

The House's two locations, 946 Plumtree Rd., Springfield and 86 Court St., Westfield, provide free physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support services to all cancer patients, their friends and families seeking assistance.

Aliotta was reluctant to provide a dollar amount needed to keep both locations open.

The organization has received a total of $11,000 from Chicopee Savings Foundation, TJX Foundation and United Bank Foundation, according to the Cancer House of Hope's Summer 2010 newsletter, "Hope Line." Satements made to this newspaper earlier this year by Gorski and Ziomek claimed that much more would be needed to sustain the non-profit long term.

Tax-deductible donations may be made to the organization by mailing a check payable to the Cancer House of Hope, 946 Plumtree Rd., Springfield MA 01119 or to 86 Court St., Westfield MA 01085.

For additional information about donations or programming, visit