Joe Andruzzi Foundation Gala Shines Light On The True Cost of Cancer

BosBabes Collaboration

FOXBOROUGH- The moment I walked off the escalators at Gillette Stadium for the 12th annual Joe Andruzzi Foundation Gala, there were two beacons of light waiting to greet me: champagne, and Lite-Brite. Yes, you read that correctly-the childhood toys many of us played with growing up had been stacked to create an impressive light-up photo backdrop, encouraging you to contribute by adding in your very own Lite-Brite from a pile conveniently waiting nearby.

It didn’t take long to learn why the well-known charity had chosen to partner with the childhood favorite. The theme of the evening was “Illuminate”, shedding light on the true cost of cancer-something the Andruzzi family knows all too well can be staggering for most patients.

Jen Andruzzi, CEO & Founder of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (shining bright in a GORGEOUS glittery dress, I may add) described her experience as she and her husband, a former New England Patriots player, navigated his devastating diagnosis. “Joe was hospitalized for 50+ days, and every day I was there probably once or twice, and you’re in and out of that parking garage. You’re paying to go in, you’re paying to go out. You’re paying for all of these extra expenses and at the same time you have all of your expenses that you are accustomed to,” she explains. “We were fortunate that we are in a position where we can afford it, but many of our friends we grew up with could not.” This experience lead Jen to create a foundation that donated directly to those suffering from cancer to help them pay for everyday expenses while managing the unexpected cost of their diagnosis, understanding that in Joe’s own words, “Nobody plans for cancer”.

Yet the couple didn’t just share their own story: they also invited several of those who have directly been able to benefit from the foundation’s mission to share their personal journeys as well. One man, whose wife was suffering from cancer, shared how his family went from stable to struggling in a matter of months. “My beautiful wife is Tracy. 5 years ago and seven months into our marriage, Tracy was diagnosed with breast cancer. As her caregiver, I now had to juggle high-running emotions as well as a 50% reduction in family income,” he said, not a dry eye in the room as he described her heartbreak in leaving the job that she loved as a teacher to focus on her recovery. “This is the true cost of cancer,” he said in closing, only to be honored by an outpouring of applause.

“Cancer finds you,” Joe said in a one-on-one interview speaking directly to his experience fighting the terrible disease. “It finds anybody. We’re there to step in to help pay for those home bills that sometimes are forgotten about-mortgage, rent, utilities still need to be paid and the people that are putting money aside just not to pay for their medication but food on the table. We want to step in there to help them pay for that food so they can get their medication.”

To learn more about the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, visit their website:

Roland’s House Celebrates 30th Annual Evening of Giving

MARLBOROUGH- Back in 1989 when the first annual Evening of Giving to benefit the local Marlborough shelter now known as Roland’s House took place, organizers Roland Simoneau & his wife Joan likely did not predict that 30 years later not only would the annual benefit still be going strong, but the holiday spirit stronger than ever. Yet the couple had witnessed a need in their community for upgrades to the shelter, formerly located in the Walker Building basement, which today now rests on Mechanic Street serving as an emergency shelter for the community.
“After 30 years, everybody continues to come out,” says local resident and organizer Trish Pope who admits the event is part of what first made her fall in love with the strong sense of community. “It’s the first thing I jumped on board with when I moved here to Marlborough, which made me totally entrenched in the city.” It’s clear to see why the event is still such a hit today: if it’s not coming to take a chance at winning one of their coveted raffle prizes that’s drawing you in, it just may be to enjoy a bite at all the best restaurants in Marlborough under one roof. From sweet treats like a hand-torched caramel brûlée to savory soups or freshly made authentic tacos, it’s simply impossible to try everything in one round. The Vin Bin Cafe, located just at the corner of Main Street, made sure they came prepared for the crowds. “We cut in half six foot long subs. This is a Muffaletta, it’s a New Orleans style Italian sandwich with olive salad, provolone cheese, salami, ham, olive oil and vinegar,” explains Vin Bin Chef Mike Lombardi as he and his wife Hannah served up slices to each and every smiling face they saw.
Yet that same contagious, positive energy was seen from booth to booth. Owner of Chill Kitchen & Bar, John Logomasini, explains why. “It’s good to be a part of the community, and I love to show that appreciation. It’s a gathering of great people,” he said smiling ear to ear as he served up samples of Chill Kitchen’s hearty ravioli.
Even Mayor of Marlborough Arthur Vigeant couldn’t stay away from the festive fundraiser, praising the efforts of Chairman Bob Kays to keep the tradition alive.
“Bob Kays and his team has been doing this for 30 years-I think he was like 20 years old when he started doing this.”
When asked about his favorite dish of the evening, Mayor Vigeant admits he was just getting started but did enjoy Zarape’s, a local authentic Mexican restaurant that was just one of many who stepped up to give back. “It’s a big effort from just about all of the restaurants in the community. A lot of people step up to the plate to take the opportunity to keep the shelter open.” Throughout the evening, residents contributed by bringing local hygiene products that were then taken to the local shelter while funds raised over the years have contributed to major renovations that continue to keep the shelter a warm and clean beacon of hope for those in need.
Watch more from the 30th Annual Evening of Giving below: