Thursday, June 12, 2014
To the editor:
Over the past dozen years, Joanne Roy of Holyoke, her family, friends, neighbors and colleagues have celebrated the memory of Rodney “Ronnie” Hennessey by raising funds for melanoma research, education and support. Now that their “Irish Night” fundraisers for “Sailing for Success” are ending, they deserve special recognition for their dedication.
Sailing for Success has contributed more than $32,000 over the past ten years to Cancer Connection, the community cancer support center based in Northampton. These grants have enabled us to offer melanoma support group meetings, weekly men’s cancer support group meetings and integrative therapies for men living with cancer and their caregivers.
The participants have consistently told us that these programs have given them a safe and confidential environment to restore their spiritual and emotional strength and to draw on the courage of each other to face lives that have been upended by a cancer diagnosis. They can release their fears here and return to their everyday affairs feeling in control and encouraged. This is a gift that none of them expected during their struggles with cancer but which has made a tremendous difference in their lives.
Sailing for Success has been a labor of love for Joanne Roy, her friends and family. On behalf of several hundred people who have benefited from that love, I send my gratitude.
Betsy G. Neisner
The writer is the executive director of the Cancer Connection based in Northampton.