Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Gwynedd Mercy College Graduate honors her mother

Right before beginning her senior year at Gwynedd Mercy College, communications student Rebecca Avery lost her mother to a rare form of cancer called carcinoid in August of 2012.
Avery's mother Barb was a teacher's aide at Holy Cross Regional School in Collegeville for 7 years.
"There is nothing she loved more than her job and she believed strongly in Catholic education," Avery said. 

Rebecca and her mother, Barb Avery.

After her mother lost her 8 year battle with cancer, Avery saw opportunity to do something to honor her memory through her senior project.
Teaching Kindergarten, first and second grades over her career at Holy Cross, Barb apparently gained a pretty big 'fan club.' According to the website that honors her, during masses many grinning children would wave wildly trying to get her attention and say hi.
"I knew I wanted to do something to keep her memory alive at the school she loved dearly," Avery said.
With the help of her family, Avery created the Barb Avery Memorial Scholarship Fund and vigorously worked to promote the cause and raise money for the scholarship fund to benefit families at Holy Cross who cannot easily afford tuition.
Putting her senior project to work, Avery created a Facebook and Twitter account to help promote the cause.
She also hosted a trivia night fundraiser at Gwynedd Mercy College on April 13 that raised just under $1,200 for the fund. 
In total, through donations and events over the past year, the fund now has over $5,000.
Avery said her family now plans to commence talks with the principal of Holy Cross to begin to award scholarships.
On May 11, Rebecca Avery graduated from Gywnedd Mercy College with a bachelors degree in communications. Now in the thick of the job hunt, she dreams of doing public relations work for a nonprofit.
"My mom has greatly influenced my career goals because I would love to work for a cancer organization to help join the fight against cancer," Avery said. "I want to help in any way that I can and show people just how courageous cancer patients are. To me they are the true rock stars!"

Rebecca on graduation day.

To donate to the scholarship fund, visit or mail a check to:

The Barb Avery Scholarship Fund
c/o TD Bank
498 2nd Avenue
Collegeville, PA 19426

Area businesses campaign for Lansdale food pantry

In the spirit of friendly competition, Manna on Main Street kicked off its annual fundraising campaign, the Florence Nightingale Challenge, in May.
This challenge benefiting Manna, a food pantry and soup kitchen on Main Street in Lansdale, runs through April 2014 when its champions are revealed.
More than 35 local businesses have signed up to campaign and fundraise for Manna over the upcoming year. Your business or organization can still join in the cause. Visit or contact Kristyn DiDominick at for more information and to see the dates of current planned events.

Here’s what current participants are saying about the cause:

“We are excited to be part of the Florence Nightingale Challenge to assist such a worthy organization as Manna on Main Street.  Their philosophy of helping those in need in the community aligns with the credit union’s mission of ‘People Helping People.’  I ask our local businesses to join us in supporting their challenge of providing for those less fortunate than us.”
- David Whitehead, CEO, Merck Sharp & Dohme Federal Credit Union

“I like to give back to the community by doing benefit concerts with my students to raise money for organizations in need or places that have experienced a catastrophic event.  It’s also a good example of community service to my students and audience.”
- Marie Hagner, High Note Vocals

“Villari’s Self Defense Centers & Manna on Main Street: Together, we’re going to KICK hunger!”
-Harry Pfister, Villari’s Self Defense Center

“CamaPlan is thrilled to be participating in the Challenge and helping Manna. Carl Fischer, our company Principal, states that “Manna does great things for our community. It is incredibly rewarding to support an organization that provides aid in your own backyard. You can measure the difference they are making. We have helped Manna in various ways over the past two years, but this is our first Challenge. We wanted to make it super easy for people to help. A click on our Facebook page is all it takes – and it’s going on all summer. We look forward to great results.”

“We are very excited about being part of the Nightingale challenge.  Working in the past as registered nurses, this seemed like the perfect fit for Center Point Pond’s pond tour that raises funds for local charities. We are excited to be able to assist Manna on Main Street in helping our neighbors in need.”
- Pam Bateman, Center Point Pond

“I am happy to support Manna’s mission because they provide essential services to folks in need in our community. Being a Mannaiac allows me to be a part of the effort even though I don’t have the time or resources to be effective on my own. Thanks for the opportunity.”
-Ron Snyder, Saxbys Coffee Lansdale

“Our students do several charity events every year because giving and helping others is a big part of our training to ‘make a more peaceful world.’ Our students learn that giving to others without expecting anything in return is part of being a good citizen and it creates great moral fiber in all of us. Manna is a fine local group who really make a difference in our communities and we are happy to be a part of it. We signed up for the Challenge hoping others will jump on the band wagon, hoping it will inspire others to do the same.  Our goal is to make a positive effect on others every chance we can.”
- Mark Cashatt, Mark Cashatt’s TaeKwon-Do School, Inc.

“The Lansdale Business Center has often been termed an “incubator.” And although many businesses come to us already established, our commitment is to assist those who need to get a chance to get started and/or “regroup,” often with limited resources. The challenge issued by Manna is in keeping with helping those who, for whatever reason, desire to be heard and offered a reprieve that replaces fear with support and success.
Manna’s challenge is being embraced simultaneously by the Lansdale Business Center in cooperation with Montgomery United Soccer Club and North Penn Under Ten! On June 12, 2013, we will make the Front Lawn available for a family-friendly Business Mixer and Kids’ Night.  Guests will be asked to come for refreshments and activities and bring their generosity in the form of a donation to Manna.  We have high hopes for this event as well as all of the other life changing opportunities Manna provides that make a difference to so many in our community.  Please attend the event for Manna on June 12th, for all that it can mean in sharing and growing Lansdale’s prosperity!”
- Ellen Foulke, The Lansdale Business Center

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sunday, May 19 - National Hepatitis Testing Day

CrossLink Medical Resources and the Hepatitis Coordinator from the PA Department of Health show their love by offering free testing Sunday, details:

CrossLink Medical Resources will be conducting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Screening in Montgomery County, Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on May 19, 2013 for National Hepatitis Testing Day. Hepatitis C is the most prevalent bloodborne viral disease in the United States and the deadliest. The focused population for the testing is the Egyptian immigrants whose country of origin is known to have the highest HCV prevalence worldwide. The organization wishes to offer a path for those with Hepatitis C starting with this high prevalence population to overcome barriers to healthcare.

The location of the testing is at the Lansdale United Methodist church, 300 N. Broad St. Lansdale, PA. The event will be from 1 pm – 8 pm. We are fortunate that the Hepatitis Coordinator from the PA Department of Health will be driving from Harrisburg to join us for this event. We look forward to this initiative that can offer aid to those suffering from this viral disease by leveraging resources in the community and across the world.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The difficulty of funding the needs of a special needs child

Jen Mohn, mother of Hannah Faith Mohn, a 3-year-old who struggles with a debilitating neuromuscular disorder yesterday spoke of the year-long battle with Hannah's insurance company to get her new $34,000 wheelchair approved. They finally received the wheelchair in the middle of April.

"It's like a full-time job trying to get something approved by insurance," Jen said. "There needs to be regulation in terms of approving these necessary pieces of equipment. It needs to be more personalized. I know we were asking a lot for this wheelchair but if they came to actually see Hannah they would understand."

With the difficulties in getting funding for equipment for Hannah to be independent and mobile, the Mohn's often fall on community support. In February The Reporter ran a story chronicling Hannah's story and her need and the community responded in astronomical ways. 

With the community's support, the Mohn's were able to retrofit their minivan to fit Hannah's new wheelchair.
Within a week of the article running on the front page of The Reporter, the Mohns could afford this $3,600 cost. Read the letter chronicling the response here.

Jennifer Connor, Community Engagement Editor at The Reporter, plans on investigating the challenge for families with children with special needs to get funding for necessary costs in an upcoming series. If you are a family with a special needs child and want to share your story and struggle, email Jennifer at

The Mohn family, Jen and Tim with their son Andrew,6, and daughter Hannah Faith together on Saturday February 16,2013. Photo by Mark C Psoras\The Reporter

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Area businesses compete in Florence Nightingale Competition to benefit local food pantry

The annual Florence Nightingale Competition is underway benefiting Lansdale's food pantry and kitchen, Manna on Main Street. Area businesses "compete" by hosting their own fundraising events for Manna.

Tomorrow, two businesses will show their love for Mann by hosting their own fun community events.

From noon until 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4, Dorman will host a car show at Dorman Products, 3400 E. Walnut Street, Colmar, Pa. There will be live music, games and more.

From 9 a.m. until noon, Portolese Family Chiropractic will be hosting an open house for the public to get to know their doctors, wellness team and staff. There will be complimentary chair massages, spring smoothies and mini reflexology treatments. Portolese will donate $25 to each new patient who signs up.