2018 Compass of Hope Honorees Announced

HYANNIS – Past honorees of the Compass of Hope Gala, and others associated with the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, gathered in Hyannis recently to meet this year’s guests of honor – medical honoreeMolly Sullivan, MD, and community honorees, the Pendergast family.

They will be officially recognized at the Compass of Hope Gala on Oct. 13 at the Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville.

The May 22 event to announce the group was held at Alberto’s Restaurant and was also the setting for the announcement of a new partnership between the American Cancer Society (Society) and Cape Cod Healthcare.

In past years, proceeds from the Gala supported the Society’s groundbreaking disease research and its services offered to all, including free rides to treatment and an around-the-clock, 365-days-a-year live help line. All funds raised during the Gala’s “Hands Up For Hope” appeal remained here on Cape Cod to support the needs of local cancer patients. This year, in addition to supporting the mission of the Society, the proceeds will also support the work of Cape Cod Healthcare. Of particular note, the event’s Hands Up For Hope appeal will support two programs on Cape Cod: the Society’sRoad to Recoveryprogram andCape Cod Healthcare’s new Cancer Nutrition Program.

Road To Recovery provides nearly 2,000 rides on Cape Cod every year, providing transportation to and from treatments. The Cancer Nutrition Program, which supports the nutritional needs of cancer patients, is the first program of its kind on Cape Cod.

“Proper nutrition is so important for our patients to maintain strength during their treatments,” said Jennifer Cummings, associate director of development for the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation. “Some worry where their next meal will come from, and we can offer them financial assistance. We hope this partnership with the American Cancer Society continues for many years into the future.”

The new nutrition program is a great benefit to patients, said Christine Davenport, a nurse in the radiation oncology department at Cape Cod Hospital. Prior to the start of the program, nurses used to refer patients to web sites for nutritional guidance, she said.

“To have a professional to refer them to is the best. I refer four or five people a week and the other nurses are doing the same. [Program registered dietician] Diana Carpentieri is very accessible and knowledgeable.”

Honorees Past and Present

Davenport was a past Gala honorees. The others include past medical honorees Daniel Canaday, MD, Walter Kaess, MD, and David Lovett, MD, and community honorees Patricia Golemme, Bob and Colleen Kohl, James McEvoy, Alice O’Neill and Robert Talerman.

Gala committee member Barbara Dunn introduced Shirley Pendergast and her daughters Danette Atsalis and Andrea Pendergast

“Their commitment to philanthropic efforts is woven into our community,” she said.

The Pendergast sisters are the third generation to operate Cape Cod Package Fine Wine & Spirits in Centerville, which was founded in 1939.

Shirley’s husband Jack died in April 2017, 13 years after he was diagnosed with skin cancer. Jack was active in many community organizations and the family has long supported hospice, the homeless and cancer care by donating wine for the Gala and other charity events.

“It is our pleasure to honor you as you continue to make a difference to the community,” said Dunn.

Dr. Canaday introduced honoree Dr. Sullivan. They met during their residencies at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and are now colleagues in the radiation oncology departments at the Davenport-Mugar Cancer Center at Cape Cod Hospital and the Clark Cancer Center at Falmouth Hospital.

“It’s been my privilege to work with her the last 12 years,” he said. “I can speak to her excellence as a physician and a colleague. Her greatest attribute is her care for her patients. She is a tireless advocate for them.”

Dr. Sullivan said that some people tell they think it must be depressing to work with cancer patients.

“It’s truly a gift to work with them,” she said. “They are at a very trying time in their lives and it’s an immediate bond you have to form. You become an intimate member of the family.”

Louise Santosuosso, director of community development for the Eastern New England region of the American Cancer Society, praised the gala volunteers for their dedication and passion.

“We all have at least two things in common: We all hate cancer and we all love Cape Cod,” she said. “Cancer is an unrelenting opponent. Working together, we’re going to make a difference.”

By BILL O’NEILL, Cape Cod Health News

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