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Unique Partnership Provides Meals To Breast Cancer Patients

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a unique partnership between volunteers, non-profit groups and a for-profit drug company working together to help women fighting breast cancer, where a meal can make a difference.

“This gives you a break, but it also gives you a boost to know that someone out there is doing something for you,” says Janis Cravotta, who is waging the battle of her life. “I have cancer. I had a mastectomy,” she explains.

The cancer treatments Janis is still enduring can take a serious toll on her. That’s where “Magnolia Meals at Home” comes in.

“It’s very convenient and very nutritious,” she says.

Volunteers like Linda Farr and Ted Suh pick up frozen meals at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services.

They’re two of about 100 volunteers who then deliver the food, for free, to people like Janis.

“You walk away with a feeling that you alleviated one of the burdens on their shoulders and you just made one thing easier for them so they can battle cancer,” says Linda.

Both Linda and Ted work for Eisai Pharmaceuticals in Andover, the company that funds the program.

“To be able to directly support somebody who is fighting cancer is a very good feeling, and you can see by working with them how much that means to them,” says Ted.

The program is a partnership between Eisai and 3 non-profits; Meals on Wheels, The Cancer Support Community and CancerCare.

“They can have meals for two months at a time. They get 10 meals if they are single and 20 meals if they have a family,” says Jane Brown who helps coordinate the program.

The year-old program operates in Boston and north into southern New Hampshire, and is available to anyone undergoing breast cancer treatment.

“With all that people go through with these treatments, to give them a little bit less worry, less concern and more time with their families is incredibly important,” says Brown.

It also gives them a friendly visit.

“They’ll sit and chit chat. They keep you company for a short time, but it’s really nice because you get to know people,” says Janis. “Where I’m unable to do so much or even go shopping, having them delivered and having them right at hand is one of the best things that could have happened right now. I can’t praise them enough.”

Many of the volunteers work at a pharmaceutical company working to develop cancer drugs. They told WBZ-TV that it encourages them to work harder after getting to know the patients.

If you know people who are making a difference in their communities, let WBZ producer Ken Tucci know. Email him at: krtucci@wbztv.com

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