Section: Clara Maass Medical Center News

Clara Maass Medical Center Hosts over 300 Survivors and Guests at Annual Cancer Survivor’s Day

Joe Heller
Joe Heller, survivor, of Teaneck, celebrates life and shows off his goodie bag at CMMC’s Cancer Survivor’s Day.

Belleville, NJ – Cancer survivors treated at Clara Maass Medical Center came from all over New Jersey and New York with their loved ones on Saturday, September 21, to celebrate their strength and courage, on the Medical Center campus in Belleville, for its Annual Cancer Survivor’s Day.

The campus was alive with music and dancing, boardwalk-themed food, and entertainment including a caricaturist, clown and balloon-maker, and a photo booth. Guests also enjoyed a kid’s crafts corner and a pizza cart, both donated by James M. Orsini, M.D., Medical Director of the Cancer Center at Clara Maass Medical Center. Survivors took home goodie bags and prizes. Some of them indulged in massage therapy sessions on behalf of Spa Services at Clara Maass.

Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at Clara Maass Medical Center, welcomed survivors, congratulating all for the strength and courage they have displayed throughout their journeys through cancer, and encouraged them to hold onto that strength.

“Cancer is an illness and battle, but it does not define who you are,” Dr. Clyne told the crowd full of cancer survivors and their loved ones. “I hope that you will allow the strength you have shown through your battles come to define you.”

John Conti, M.D., an attending physician at the Cancer Center at Clara Maass, and Charles Cathcart, M.D., Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Clara Maass Medical Center, were present to greet survivors and partake in the day’s festivities, along with the entire staff of the Cancer Center at Clara Maass Medical Center.

Beatrice and Gerald Lavacca and Raymond
Cancer survivor Beatrice Lavacca (center), with husband Gerald (left) and brother-in-law Raymond, all of Bloomfield, enjoy their picnic style lunch at the Annual Cancer Survivor’s Day.

“Every year, this event serves as a reminder to our brave and courageous survivors that they deserve to be celebrated,” said Jill Wargo, FACHE, Director of the Cancer Center at Clara Maass Medical Center. “And through our services at the Cancer Center at Clara Maass, I know that we will continue to welcome more and more survivors to celebrate with us in future years.”

The annual event not only welcomed over 300 guests, but nearly 75 volunteers, including Clara Maass employees as well as the James Caldwell High School Varsity Male Soccer Team and some of their parents and coaches.

“What a wonderful event to be a part of,” said Patty Grossman, a Survivor’s Day Volunteer from West Caldwell, and parent of one of the volunteer soccer players. “The boys really enjoyed the day and felt good being part of such a special celebration.”

Clara Maass Medical Center has won numerous awards and accolades. In 2013, Becker’s Hospital Review named it one of “100 Hospitals with Great Heart Programs.” It is ranked among the 50 Best Regional Hospitals in the New York Metro Area by U.S. News & World Report. In 2013, it also received its third consecutive Grade “A” score in Hospital Safety by the Leapfrog Group, along with a HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award™. HealthGrades awarded Clara Maass an Emergency Medicine Excellence Award. Thomson Reuters named Clara Maass among the top 100 hospitals nationwide in 2012, one of only three hospitals in New Jersey to attain the distinction. In addition, Clara Maass won the Thomson Reuters Everest Award, one of 12 hospitals in the United States to do so. Clara Maass Medical Center was ranked as the second highest in New Jersey for hospital safety by Consumer Reports. It is ranked top in the state for the treatment of Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Attacks by the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services.

Volunteers Volunteers
(left to right) West Caldwell residents Kenny Barone (right) of the James Caldwell High School Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team, Patty Grossman, and Sue Dul, volunteered their time at Clara Maass Medical Center’s Annual Cancer Survivor’s Day, serving food to survivors and their guests. (left to right) Kevin Gray and Drew Siedel from the James Caldwell High School Boys’ Varsity Team, with Assistant Coach John Inguagiato, served food to survivors and their guests at CMMC’s Cancer Survivor’s Day.
Anna Destefano, Tiana Martinez and Oscar Joseph DeGiovanni, Sylvia and Michelle DeGiovanni
Anna DeStefano, survivor, with grandchildren Tiana Martinez, 12, and Oscar, 11, of Belleville, enjoyed food, fun and facepainting at Cancer Survivor’s Day. Joseph DeGiovanni (middle), 3, of Kearny, with his mother, Sylvia (left), and grandmother Michelle DeGiovanni, survivor, (right), shows off the balloon sword made for him at Clara Maass Medical Center’s Annual Cancer Survivor’s Day.
Coriana Carter and grandmother Tyler Schroeder and balloon bender Jovary Alvarez
Coriana Carter, 1, of Belleville, danced the day away with her grandmother, a Clara Maass employee, at Cancer Survivor’s Day. Tyler Schroeder of Winfield Park, 7, son of a Cancer Center at CMMC employee, enjoys his treat from balloon bender Jovary Alvarez of Piscataway.
Coby with Tania Manago and Diane Tilly Lisa Orsini with Kayla
Coby, one of the Clara Maass Medical Center pet therapy dogs, visited survivors and their guests at Cancer Survivor’s Day, alongside Tania Manago of Nutley (left), Assistant Director of Patient Satisfaction at CMMC, and owner Diane Tilly of Kearny. Cancer Center employee Irene _, with Lisa Orsini, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist at the Cancer Center at CMMC, enjoy the day’s celebrations with Lisa’s dog, Kayla.

Located in Belleville, NJ, Clara Maass Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, provides a complete continuum of care to residents of northern New Jersey. Clara Maass’ centers and services include The Health and Wellness Center, Nuclear Medicine, The Cancer Center at Clara Maass, Adult Cardiac Services including Diagnostic Services, Cardiac Catheterization, Elective and Emergency Angioplasty and Rehabilitation, The Pain Management Center, The Joint & Spine Institute, a Vascular Center, Same Day Surgery, The Wound Center at Clara Maass, The Center for Sleep Disorders, The Bariatric Surgery Center, Rehabilitation Services, The Eye Surgery Center, Maternity Services and Parent Education, as well as Pediatrics. For a physician referral or more information about Clara Maass, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit

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Date: October 4, 2013

Contact: Courtney Lynch
Manager, Communications and Marketing

Categories: Cancer,Press Releases