Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Newbie's Perspective

March 21st was a beautiful, clear, sunny day, just like the day of "The Event." After a very typical Sunday morning with my family, my wife Dana and I packed up the kids and made our way to the Masonic lodge in Manchester for the 2 P.M. check presentation.

I was excited to see my charitable work to it's conclusion and share that with my family. I believe that giving is the strongest motivator when it is matched with personal passion. By showing my children the importance of giving, I hoped they would walk way with an appreciation for life and remember this rewarding experience. Spending time with Liana & Rosa might be powerful to them as they are all small children.

Thinking back to March 7th, "The Event", the day could not have been better. The volunteers gathered early and were such an organized bunch that it was clear to me that this was going to be a great day. The members of the BIA have done this event over and over for many years, so the only unknown was my efforts as event public relations manager, "the BIA Rookie." Steve Aldi, the BIA chairperson was on top of his game and flawlessly orchestrated all event volunteers from planning through implementation.

9 A.M., the first of the community breakfast patrons enters the downstairs hall at the Masonic lodge and the controlled chaos begins! As for me, I'm snapping pictures left and right and capturing video to document our efforts. The deserving Simmons and Doane families arrive minutes apart around 9:30 to find the hall already teeming with people. By 10 A.M., we are preparing the "extra" tables that were staged and ready to handle any potential overflow! What a wonderful problem to have! We planned on serving 250 meals, but it was clear that someone was going to need to make a food run or else risk disappointing the crowd that came out in support of Rosa and Liana.

By 11 A.M., the patrons were still filing in and we served meals even as we were beginning to beakdown tables and chairs at noon. All that was leftover were a few dozen bagels and a gallon or two of milk. We were cleaned out! As I leave the Masonic lodge, my spirits are high and I am empowered to take on more charitable work.

The BIA member organizations had proudly sacrificed our time and energies to raise funds for the medical and related expenses of Rosa and Liana. To see both young girls interact with one another and display such large smiles at the community breakfast was all the payment we could ask for in return.

Getting back to March 21st, we presented a BIG fake check, followed by a more meaningful, small one shortly afterward. Through all the efforts of the BIA, the grace of God, the cooperative weather and two wonderful and deserving children, we were able to increase the proceeds by $1500 for a total of $4000 provided to Liana & Rosa. After the presentation, we gathered to eat, drink, talk and reflect on the events of the past few months.

Why I say giving coupled with passion is a powerful motivator lies in the fact that my beautiful wife is a cancer survivor of more than 5 years. I would go to the ends of the earth to help those with cancer, especially when they are beautiful children, a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and protected. For more than ten years, Dana and I have been involved in the South Windsor Relay for Life as survivor, caregiver and as participants. We hope you pick a charitable endeavor and pursue it with passion!

I invite you to attend, donate or repeat this memorable story of "The Event" as a way to continue to help us do more for children with life threatening illnesses next year.

Friday, March 12, 2010


The Brotherhood In Action of Manchester wish to recognize the following persons, organizations, and businesses that contributed to the success of the 2010 Community Breakfast:

Sponsor Organizations
Beth Sholom B'nai Israel Brotherhood
Knights of Columbus Campbell Council #573, Manchester, CT
Mason Friendship Tuscan Lodge #145
Mason Manchester Lodge #73
UNICO of Manchester

Donation Sponsors
Big Y
McDonald's (Walsh Enterprises)
Westside Mobil Mart

Advertising Sponsors
Igdalsky & Company - CPAs
Westside Mobil Mart - Gas & Convenience Store
Dialect Accent Specialists, Inc. - Speech Improvement Specialist
Manchester Police Union Local 1495 - Need I say more?!
Paul L. Rubin - Attorney at Law
DuBaldo Systems Inc. - Alarm and Protection Systems
Vernon Regional Adult Basic Education - Carl Mandell, Ed.D.
Damato Enterprises - Contractors/Developers/Apartment Rentals
Digestive Health Services - Peter S. Buch, M.D. & James W. O'Brien, M.D.
Prestige Printing Corporation - Printing & Reprographic Services
Cory Turner Home Improvement Contractors, LLC - Remodeling Services
P & P Auto Repair Inc. - Foreign & Domestic Auto Service
Manchester Podiatry Center, P.C. - Dr. Kenneth Wichman
Parkade Health & Nutrition Center - Michael Dworkin, P.D, M.S.
Kahan Kerensky & Capossela LLP Attorneys at Law - William E. Breslau
Mason Friendship Tuscan Lodge #145
Mason Manchester Lodge #73
Mason Hartford Evergreen Lodge #88
Temple Chapter #53 Order of the Eastern Star
Metal Industries, Inc. - Metallizing Services, Machine Component Repair & Fabrication
HealthWise Medical Associates, LLP
Harmony Home Improvement - Remodeling Services
Knights of Columbus Campbell Council #573, Manchester, CT
UNICO, Manchester Chapter
Beth Sholom B'nai Israel Brotherhood
Sphinx Omar Shrine Club
Sphinx Highlanders Pipes & Drums
ERA Blanchard & Rossetto, Inc. - Real Estate
John F. Tierney Funeral Home Inc.
Joseph A. Prignano, D.D.S., Marlborough, CT

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brotherhood In Action 2010 Event Pictures

The community comes together in support of Rosa and Liana! Former 2008 & 2009 recipients Charlotte Wesoloskie and Thomas Ersevim are in attendance with family members as well!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Charitable Community Breakfast 2010

Announcing the
Manchester Brotherhood In Action
Community Breakfast 2010

to Benefit Rosa Doane (5 years old) and Liana Simmons (4 years old)

The deserving recipients of this charitable event are cancer patients
undergoing treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

Sunday, March 7th, 2010
9AM to 12PM
at the Masonic Temple
25 East Center Street, Manchester

Donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children
Tickets can be bought prior to the event through
any Brotherhood In Action member organization
or at the door the day of the event.

Storm Delay Date will be March 14th.

Brotherhood In Action is a Manchester group
of fraternal organizations of different ethnic
and religious backgrounds who work together
to help our community while fostering
friendship and mutual understanding.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Love Chromosome and A Shining Example For All of Us

If you ever have seen the sign that says "Live, Laugh, Love", that is the essence of Rosa Doane. On top of the challenges that Rosa's Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) present, she also has Down Syndrome which is a condition where her cells have an extra chromosome. Her family affectionately call it the LOVE chromosome! Throughout her experience, Rosa has shown so much caring and compassion for others. She is a shinning example for all of us.

You can learn and follow the progress of Rosa on her Caringbridge web page:



Monday, January 25, 2010

A Mother's Worst Nightmare - Day 4 - Uncertain Future and A Newly Found Passion

I extended my finger, pushed the button and the doorbell rang. An explosion of barking rang out as Hunter (the gregarious, approval-seeking, black-coated dog) and Luke (the golden-coated confident dog) made their presence know to me. It startled me a bit as I wasn't expecting the noise. Melissa approached the door and we shared a smile through the glass panels of the entrance. Before opening the door and unleashing the hounds, she asked "Are you OK with dogs?" This was how my visit to Liana's home began and before leaving I would feel many different emotions and all in less than an hour.

Having come a few minutes early, I had caught Melissa without her Mom there to watch the children (Liana is 4 and Taresa is 3 going on 20). So while we waited for the cavalry, Melissa introduced me to the kids. As we stood in the kitchen, I motioned to Liana to come closer. I had a "secret" to share with her that I thought would help put her at ease. I bent over and whispered "my wife had cancer too." From that point on we had the most wonderful conversation about my wife's experience with cancer and the treatments. Liana wanted to know if my wife also had a port like her. I said, "Yes she did." Chemotherapy can be stressful on a patient's veins, so a port is implanted in a patient's chest to provide a consistent injection site for treatments.

Melissa's mom came to the rescue and after a discussion of Disney princesses and the movie of the day "Ratatoulle", Melissa and I sat down to discuss the important stuff. After viewing Liana's Caringbridge web site ( to get an overview, I asked Melissa to share so that we can make the best of this opportunity to help Liana and she related a mother's worst nightmare.

On day four of Liana's initial stay in the hospital, Melissa, who was constantly by her daughter's bedside heard a loud scream, wailing and crying in the room next door. Her worst nightmare was being played out by an unfortunate family in an adjacent room. A mother, no different than herself, had just lost her child to cancer. Liana looked up at her mother and asked, "Why are they crying Momma?" What could she say?

I broke down crying with Melissa in their family room as a flood of my own memories of my wife's struggle with cancer mixed with the thoughts of that mother crying and Melissa holding back her own emotions to stay strong for her daughter.

Melissa has turned this story and all the other little stories into a new passion. She cares deeply about doing her part to help prevent cancer and limit the potential for secondary cancers. Through her Relay For Life team (Team LIFE - Live It Fully Everyday)and her support for the Reach For The Stars Clinic, Melissa has begun a new journey into defeating cancer for her child and the many thousands that will follow. Melissa has had to take unpaid leave during this time of treatment for Liana.


Hunter & Luke

Check Presentation Pictures - 2009

Event Pictures - 2008