Harnessing Hope Bags Initiative

 

Since April 2014, we have delivered 85 Harnessing Hope bags to the Susquehanna Health Cancer Center.  In 2015, we look forward to continuing to make these quarterly deliveries.   We are proud of this project, which has been embraced by the local community.

Please take a moment to read below about the genesis of this initiative and what we are doing to provide a little comfort to those newly-diagnosed with cancer in our community:

hhbags

In March of 2014, we started an initiative through the Team Kass Foundation called Harnessing Hope Bags.  The concept for this program came from my Mom and was raised for the first time during our Foundation Board meeting in February 2014.  The concept was simple and came from such a beautiful place.  As my Mom recalled sitting next to Kass through numerous chemotherapy treatments, she remembered the items Kass liked to have close by to help with the environment, including snacks, hand cream, mouthwash, wet wipes, etc., each intended to provide a little comfort through the uncomfortable parts of the cancer journey.  We also recall writing down moments of laughter, conversations worth noting, information about medications, ideas for the future, etc., and my Mom always had a little notebook handy.

Ready for delivery!
Ready for delivery!

It is in this spirit that once a quarter, we collect all of these items and place them in a harnessing hope bag with great care.  We include information about our Foundation and what inspired us to do this…our courageous sister Kass who never lost hope throughout her journey!  The expectation is that people who are new to this cancer journey may feel a little better, a little lighter, if only for a moment, because Kass’s beautiful light shines briefly in their space.  Since April 2014, we have delivered 85 bags to the Susquehanna Health Cancer Center to be distributed to newly-diagnosed cancer patients.

Our Dad was an integral part of this initiative.  He helped with defining the final contents of the bag, and of course, he was a strong proponent of including the journal.  Since his passing just 2.5 months ago from cancer, our hearts continue to beat; yet they are broken, battered and bruised by yet another terrible loss for our family.  This time, we lost our patriarch, our strength, and our beacon of light and laughter.  Beyond all measure, this is the time for us to dig deep and to regain our footing as we continue walking on the path toward hope.  If we lose our hope, then what?  We will never give up.  We will continue walking forward until no other family has to endure using the word “cancer” as a part of their daily conversation.

In our most recent delivery to SH Cancer Center in November 2014, we were able to include special recognition of our Dad and his values, and we hope that he would be proud to see how his lessons continue to carry on through his kids and grand kids and

Our Dad and the Number 2 pencil!
Our Dad and the Number 2 pencil!

the other lives he touched.  He was a gift from God and we were so lucky to stand in the light of his love for so many happy years.  Please take a moment to read about his treasured possession, the Dixon Ticonderoga Number 2 pencil, and how we incorporated them into this round of bags.

In loving memory of three special people!

This initiative has grown, thanks to the generous donations we have received in support of this effort.  To date, we have raised almost $5,200.00 specifically to support this initiative, including an anonymous donation in support of the cause!  We are grateful for every gift!  In September, we were blown away by very generous gift made in memory of a loved one lost to cancer earlier this year.  The gift was made to support the Harnessing Hope Bag initiative.  In recognition of this gift, we have included Cyndi Baker’s name in loving memory on our gift bags this round.  Thank you to Deb B. for your generosity of spirit and for loving your friend Cyndi.  May her memory long endure!

To see how you can help with this initiative, please contact us at paternostrofamilyfoundation@comcast.net.  To make a donation, please send your gift to Paternostro Family Foundation, PO Box 1862, Williamsport, PA  17703 and mention Harnessing Hope Bags in the memo!

Thank you and God bless.

Michelle Gaida, Administrative Director, Cancer Services, SHS and June Zimmerman, Social Worker, SHS accepted the Team Kass Harnessing Hope bags from Team Kass Board Secretary Marty Paternostro and Chairman Krista Paternostro in April 2014 at the Cancer Center. “The patients will appreciate this more than you will ever know.” God bless all of those in this fight!

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Harnessing Hope. Living Passionately.

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