As part of the moving ceremony, Pre-K Director Tracy Gallo, back row, second to left, thanked her surgeon Dr. Debra Camal, left, Hackensack, Meridian Health and Riverview Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Kelli O’Brien, Dr. Bernard, Kelly Chaknis and plastic surgeon Dr. Negin Griffiths, far right, along with the medical team at Riverview Medical Center for easing the most frightening experience of her life and for providing exceptional care.
Hackensack, Meridian Health and Riverview Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Kelli O’Brien thanked students for their donation, told them how much they inspired her with their kindess and let each of them know they had earned The Care To Give Kindness Award.
LONG BRANCH, NJ – Wearing bright pink tee shirts with their school’s logo and the breast cancer ribbon printed across the front, over 100 preschool through middle school students from The Seashore School went to Riverview Medical Center Women’s Auxiliary today to donate more than $1,000 they raised for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As part of the initiative, children presented commemorative artwork they made with messages of hope and a basket of hundreds of lifesavers packets they each tied with pink ribbons to leave behind for women awaiting mammograms or treatment.
“I am inspired by your kindness,” Hackensack, Meridian Health and Riverview Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Kelli O’Brien said, explaining that each child had earned The Care To Give Kindness Award for his or her efforts.
According to Seashore Principal and Director John Villapiano, while THINK PINK has been Seashore’s annual Make A Difference Day project for years, this time it was even more meaningful. Held in memory of sister-in-law Susan Villapiano who fought a courageous battle with breast cancer for 20 years and to honor Pre-Kindergarten Director Tracy Gallo, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring and recently completed treatment at Riverview, the entire student body and teachers came together in strong support of the cause.
Gallo, who just returned to work last week, presented the donation on behalf of The Seashore School to O’Brien at the ceremony, profusely thanking her surgeon Dr. Debra Camal, plastic surgeon Dr. Negin Griffiths and husband Bob Gallo for taking such good care of her and making one of the most frightening experiences a woman can face as easy as possible.
As part of the event, the team of doctors emphasized the importance of getting annual check ups and being kind to family members who need it most. “I couldn’t have sent Tracy home without the support of her wonderful husband Bob,” Dr. Griffiths said.
Funds were raised by selling pink tee shirts with proceeds and additional donations to benefit Rivervew Medical Center Women’s Auxiliary. “Money will be earmarked for women who can’t afford treatment for breast cancer,” Gallo said.
While the activity took place a few days before National Make A Difference Day October 28, it wasn’t about making a difference only this specific day. As part of their curriculum, Seashore students are encouraged to make a difference in the lives of others as often as they can throughout the year.