Holmes, PA – Over the past six years the HEADstrong Foundation has established themselves as an important resource for patients and families battling blood cancers. The organization has established a wide range of services inspired by their own personal experience and the journey of their Founder Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori, who succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006. Understanding the importance of being a positive influence in a patient’s life while assisting them navigate their journey through the disease is the focus of this non-profit organization.
“We want people who are dealing with the stresses of a diagnosis of blood cancer to know that they are not alone in the world” says Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President
In taking their efforts yet another step forward the HEADstrong Foundation has proudly created the HEAD2head™ patient advocacy group which connects newly diagnosed patients with a network of patients and survivors of blood cancers to provide peer support, mentoring and guidance.
Championing the effort is renowned recording artist Jessy Kyle, a three time survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, who has become closely involved with the organization. Learn more about Jessy Kyle at www.jessykyle.com.
“I had the great pleasure of meeting Michael Colleluori when he was a research assistant for my oncologist, Dr. Schuster. I then met the rest of the family on Thanksgiving 2009 when I was at HUP receiving my transplant. When Cheryl Colleluori visited me in the hospital that day, I told her that the next Thanksgiving I would healthy, and serving dinner with her..Thankfully that happened and I have been involved ever since.”
Joe Clifford, a survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, knows all too well the positive role that a mentor can have on a patients overall wellbeing. Over the past four years Joe has worked alongside of the HEADstrong Foundation and now is taking the lead, co-captaining the HEAD2head™ Program.
“We believe that knowledge is one of the best weapons against cancer. In addition to learning from medical professionals, we feel that it’s extremely beneficial for a patient to talk to other patients who can relate. It is crucial for a current patient to engage with survivors so they know that their survival is indeed possible. Our hope is to help structure the Head2head program in a way that is easy for former patients and current patients to connect.” says Jessy Kyle and Joe Clifford, Patient Advocates
Like Jessy and Joe, many others are joining HEADstrong to help educate, encourage and mentor newly diagnosed patients of the disease.
HEAD2head™ was originally conceptualized by HEADstrong founder Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori, who from diagnosis was determined to learn as much as he could about the disease that he had. During his battle against non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Colleluori recognized the importance of peer support and embraced the concept of becoming a patient advocate for blood cancer. During his inpatient treatments, Nicholas began to visit with a counsel patients, many twice his age. He wanted them to see that regardless of the situation that there was always hope. He valued the importance of the smile and the ability to connect with people all going through the same thing.
“While we cared for Nicholas through every procedure and treatment, we cannot personally explain the feeling of receiving chemotherapy, or the experiences associated with this disease. Our new patient advocacy group is a personalized approach that nurtures the mental health of patients by connecting them with other patients and survivors of the disease. We wish to thank Jessy Kyle, Joe Clifford and our team of patient/survivor advocates who have made Nick’s vision a reality.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President