How are we already one month into 2024?! Many of us say, “As we grow older, it can feel like time goes by faster and faster. We want things to slow down.” In January, JAF did just that and took the time to slow down and reflect on 2023, reminding ourselves, “Don’t allow the past to keep you stuck. Learn from it, let go, and move on.”
What we learned last year is that the economy affects both sides of our balance sheet: more grant applications poured in from cancer patients and their family members who are facing financial toxicity (cost of cancer), making 2023 our highest Program funding year in our history. Conversely, we saw businesses facing budget reductions and needing to cut back on philanthropic gifts to nonprofits.
For 2024, JAF remains focused on advancing our mission. This includes building and expanding relationships with partners in the six New England states we serve, spotlighting financial toxicity to state leaders, and sharing how JAF’s funding directly supports patients in their communities. We plan to grow our corporate partnerships and Project 800 (school fundraising opportunity), bring our Annual Gala back to our area this fall, and continue to expand the Universal Community Oncology Resource Network (UniCORN). I just blinked, and it’s November. I’m just kidding, but it will be before we know it!
Special request to readers: share this e-newsletter with one person and ask that person to share it with another person, as spreading awareness about JAF’s mission is more critical than ever. Growing THIS community of supporters to help patients and families is how JAF will provide help, hope, and a reason to smile when it matters most.
President and CEO
Food Insecurity Isn’t Slowing Down
Families across America are struggling to pay for groceries right now. An article in The Lowell Sun recently reported that in just one month right here in Massachusetts, 535,920 residents reported experiencing food insecurity in 2023. This was nearly a 50% increase between 2021 and 2023.
For cancer patients throughout New England, the severity and complexities of food insecurity are often overlooked. Patients need flexibility in food purchasing throughout treatment. It’s not just having food; it’s also having the proper food. Nutritional needs are different, and often, purchasing healthier foods means spending more money – money cancer patients don’t have to spare.
The percentage of people navigating a cancer diagnosis and experiencing food insecurity ranges between 17-55% of the cancer patient population. Buying appropriate food is just one of the everyday household expenses patients typically struggle to manage. Trying to put basic food on the table can further strain finances and exacerbate budget shortfalls, tipping them into a potentially permanent state of financial distress.
The number of Food Assistance applications JAF received in 2023 reflects this trend, showing a 10% increase from 2022, representing nearly 200 more applications. JAF’s ability to issue grocery cards to leading New England supermarkets has given struggling patients immediate relief and dignity. Food Assistance has been our fastest growing program and has contributed significantly towards patients being nutritionally supported and able to keep to treatment regimens. Thanks to the investment of presenting sponsor Amplix and supporting partners at Dunkin Joy in Childhood Foundation, Stop & Shop, and so many others, cancer patients will continue to have a lifeline to healthy foods.
(Up)Beat Event: Wasabi Bowl at Fenway Park
The college football bowl games were in full swing in December including one in Fenway Park, transforming the legendary baseball park into a football field. Now in its second year, the Wasabi Fenway Bowl included Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) patient recipients thanks to our generous partners at Fenway Park and the Red Sox Foundation. Although Mother Nature deterred us from a full house, one JAF patient recipient and his family braved the cold rain to watch the Boston College Eagles play the Southern Methodist University Mustangs. Seen above bundled up in their JAF beanies, the Ezzard Family witnessed a BC win 23-14!
Patient Profile: Meet Mark
Pancreatic cancer wasn’t going to get the better of 62-year-old Mark from Greenfield, MA. His family and friends kept his spirits high, standing by him every step of the way. Mark credits JAF with providing the support he needed during his cancer journey to pull him through. Read more about Mark and his inspiring story in this month’s blog.
Last year, we asked Champions Circle members why they supported JAF; one member said, “I believe in the mission wholeheartedly and trust that JAF has patients and families first in mind.”
We couldn’t agree more! Helping cancer patients and their family members while they are undergoing treatment has always been our priority.
Our mission is possible because of our loyal Champions Circle members! JAF recognizes and thanks the following companies for their 5-year (and counting!) membership in Champions Circle: ACS Services, Inc.; Barrows Insurance Agency; Lane, Lane & Kelly, LLP; One Stop Painting & Renovating Inc.; and St. Anne’s Hospital.
Champions Circle is focused on highlighting businesses and business leaders who commit to making a positive impact on New England cancer patients. JAF is grateful to all JAF Champions Circle Members. If you’d like to join these business leaders who are making a difference for cancer patients in our communities or renew your membership, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit JAF’s website.
Be The Difference, Become a Bridge Builder
Every day in New England, someone is hearing the words ‘you have cancer.’ Their minds race first to what will be the treatment that will potentially save their life. The next issue is often how they will pay for that treatment and maintain everyday expenses. That’s where your monthly gift to JAF can make all the difference.
By enrolling in JAF’s Bridge Builder program, you are providing funds for cancer patients’ grocery bills, monthly electric bills, or part of their rent. Through automatic deductions each month – at amounts starting at as little as $5 a month – you can join with so many others to bring relief to families, friends, and neighbors in our communities who are facing a cancer journey.
Cancer patients have enough to deal with without worrying about how they’ll put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, or how they will get to treatment. In 2024, JAF is asking everyone to resolve to become a JAF Bridge Builder (at any amount!) and be the difference in someone’s life.
Corporate Partnerships: Supporting Programs that Cancer Patients Need Now
Corporate partnerships at JAF have made possible some of the most impactful programs for cancer patients and their family members. Because of these philanthropic organizations, JAF has reached thousands in need right here in New England. For 2024, the Foundation has some exciting new partnership opportunities that will bring immediate help and hope to the patients JAF serves while connecting your company’s brand to meaningful programs that help families when they need it most. There is so much good we can do by working together. JAF invites small and large businesses to help bring equity so that all cancer patients can access and complete potentially life-saving treatment. For more information, please get in touch with Nicole Anderson at Nicole@joeandruzzifoundation.org.
Introducing JAF’s 2024 Boston Marathon® Team
The Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) is proud to announce its 22 dedicated athletes participating as members of Team JAF in the 128th Boston Marathon® presented by Bank of America! Runners will take on this iconic event on Monday, April 15, representing Team JAF and bringing awareness to the Foundation’s mission.
This group recently got together on the bowling lanes of Splitsville in Foxborough, MA, to kick off the marathon season. Collectively, they’ve already raised more than $100,000 for JAF!
Click the red button to learn more about each runner, and support their fundraising efforts, if interested. Also, look for more Team JAF photos, videos, and stories on social media leading up to Marathon Monday (search #TeamJAF).
Do You Want to Run for Team JAF? Save the Dates for Upcoming Events!
BehanBros Newport Night Run – 5k – Saturday, April 6, 2024
11th Annual BankNewport 10 Miler – Sunday, June 2, 2024
52nd ASICS Falmouth Road Race – Sunday, August 18, 2024
To express your interest in participating in any of these events or to receive notification when applications become available, please email Teresa Andruzzi at Teresa@joeandruzzifoundation.org.
P.S. Check out our new Team JAF Sponsorship opportunities for 2024! For more information about how you or your company can get involved, please contact with Barbara Foley at email@example.com.
Coming in February…
On February 1, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) will be announcing a warm and wonderful way to help cancer patients this winter.
Hint: He’s red, carries a bow and arrow, and loves bringing help, hope, and reasons to smile to New England cancer patients. Check your email on Thursday to get in on the fun!