The Angel Fund

The Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes is honored to announce the creation of the Angel Fund in memory of Miguel Ángel Balsa Marín.

This fund will be used to provide direct cash assistance to individuals with cancer in our community who have a specific and immediate financial need. We regularly learn of situations in which a relatively small amount of money can make a significant difference in a person’s life. We always try to identify other resources that might exist in our community or elsewhere, but there are times that no such program exists. This is when we’ve wanted the help of an angel.

This angel – our Angel Fund – is now being created in memory of the late Miguel Balsa by his family and many friends. Miguel was a beloved young man, scholar and teacher who died from colon cancer in December 2013. He had been involved with the Cancer Resource Center for some time, and he possessed a special kindness that allowed him to connect with others going through treatment. When we realized that Miguel’s middle name was Ángel, we knew that the Angel Fund was meant to be.

Click here to read a lovely tribute to Miguel, written by his husband, Gerard Aching, and to learn how you can contribute.

Give a little, get a lot!

There is nothing like the feeling you get when you make someone’s day a little brighter. This is what Cancer Resource Center volunteers experience on a regular basis. Want to join our team? All it takes is compassion, good listening skills, and a 3½ hr. time commitment each week. Contact Sharon Kaplan ( or 277-0960) for more information. You can also visit our volunteer page to fill out a volunteer application.

Job Posting: Associate Director, Cancer Resource Center

Taking a senior role in the organization, the Associate Director is involved in all phases of the Cancer Resource of the Finger Lakes. Specific areas of responsibility include: program development and grants administration, client services support, human resource and organizational administration, and community outreach. The Associate Director reports to, and works closely with, the Executive Director, and has regular contact with members of the board, staff, volunteers and clients. The Associate Director acts on behalf of the Executive Director when the Executive Director is absent. The Associate Director must be willing and able to learn and utilize new skills in order to meet constantly evolving needs.

The mission of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes is to create and sustain a community of support for people living with and affected by cancer.  We are well-established, and have become a national model for cancer support organizations in small cities. We do this with a small and dedicated staff (4 employees), dozens of talented and committed volunteers, and a limited budget ($350,000).

The complete job description and application procedure are available on our website.

Improving Cancer Support Services in Tompkins County

We’d like your input!

We’ve created a brief online survey to obtain feedback from individuals in our area who have been diagnosed with cancer or if they’ve had a loved one with cancer.

This information will be used to help us plan new cancer support programs and to refine our existing programs.

Your feedback will help us whether or not you’ve ever used the services of the Cancer Resource Center. All responses are anonymous (unless you want to be contacted).

Responses are being collected through June 7. Please click here to take the survey.

Construction Updates

The City of Ithaca has issued the building permit for renovation of our backporch and construction will begin in a few days. We’re adding a lift, expanding the doorway, and creating smooth walkways that will connect the front sidewalk with the garden. We’re thrilled that Welliver Construction is serving as our general contractor and that Andrew Gil of Holt Architects did the design.

Once the concrete has cured, we can work on the backyard itself, fill the planters, add a pergola and seating areas, and begin renovating the existing garage into a garden pavilion. Lots of work will take place over the next several months under the leadership of volunteer Lee Ginenthal – Der Rosenmeister of Ithaca.

Donations are needed to complete this amazing project. You can donate online, or send a check to the Cancer Resource Center, noting that it’s for the garden fund.

We’re also happy to report that we’ve made our downstairs bathroom more accessible by replacing the toilet and vanity with the assistance of a grant from the Youth and Philanthropy Program of the United Way of Tompkins County. Thanks to Gig Currier for doing wonderful work.

Learn what you can do to help pass the Compassionate Care Act

Momentum to pass a comprehensive medical marijuana bill in New York is growing! Last week, the Compassionate Care Act passed the Senate Health Committee, and this week it passed the full Assembly by a bipartisan vote of 91 to 34, the widest margin to date.

Now that the bill has passed the Assembly, it’s time for the Senate to pass the bill through its Finance Committee and then bring it to the floor for a vote by the full Senate.

How can you help? Click on CCNY logo and find out!

Cancer Research Meeting – Wednesday June 11 from 5:15-6:45pm

Cornell University Vet School Hagan Room

“Cancer Cell Migration: how cancer cells use their surroundings to move throughout the body.” Presented by Alexandra Lynn McGregor

These monthly meetings are a collaboration between the Cancer Resource Center and doctoral students involved in cancer research at Cornell. Research topics are presented
in lay language and discussion is encouraged.

Light refreshments are provided. If you’d like a ride from CRC to Cornell,
call Bob at 277-0960.

Click here for more info & to see the slides from earlier presentations.

Our Women’s Noon Group has something new!

On the 3rd Friday of every month at noon we will have a guest speaker who shares something that is fun or educational for women who have had a cancer diagnosis/treatment.

Coming up: June 20th – Nancy Banner of the Holistic Kitchen (‎)
will be here to present healing recipes for cancer, whole foods and healing diets.

Maxie’s Chicken Fried Fundraiser…Why eat Fried Chicken? Because no one should face cancer alone.

On Tuesday, June 24 from 5-11pm, for every Southern-Fried Chicken or BBQ Tofu dinner sold, Maxie’s will donate $5 to the Cancer Resource Center.

All you have to do is go to Maxie’s and enjoy their buttermilk-brined, dried & coated Southern-Fried Chicken for $11.95 (or house-smoked organic BBQ Tofu for $13.50) both served with mashed potatoes and maple-braised collard greens, and the rest is gravy. Tasso Gravy.

Wash it all down with a frosty pint of local beer from our friends at Bacchus Brewery!  For each pint of Bacchus beer sold, Maxie’s will donate an additional $1 to the Cancer Resource Center.

Free, live music provided by the Cayuga Blue Notes from 6-10pm.
Eat Chicken, Drink Beer, Feel Good.  See You There!

It’s summer time – and that means GOLF!

8:00am Registration, 9:00am Shotgun Start. Lunch provided.
Join a Team and Play; $125 per participant or $500 per team,
includes team golf cart and lunch.
Click here to download a golf tournament registration form.
Deadline for registrations and sponsorships is June 30th.


In May, we are very grateful for the donations we received from our wonderful community:

In Memory of:

Howard Kendall
Linda Palmer
J. Deborah McAuliffe
Edward Perlmutter
Annette Robbins

In Honor of:

Phil Shapiro
Max Cleveland’s 70th birthday
Kerry Quinn’s birthday
Eileen McCoy Whang
Betty Falcao

This month’s Kudos go to:

The Tompkins County Department of Assessment employees for once again
choosing us to receive the proceeds from their “Casual for Charity” fundraiser.

The School Of Health Sciences & Human Performance for donating the
proceeds from their “Brazilian Bomber Cup” fundraiser to us.

Gary Hodges for taking such fabulous staff photos for our website!

The Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey Team for donating over
$800 raised at their Annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Stephaney Powell, for taking the lead on securing a new prosthesis for a cancer survivor with no health insurance.

<–    Two fabulous CRC volunteers who have gone above and beyond to assist clients lately!      —>


Gret Atkin, for working over the holiday weekend to coordinate a ride to Rochester for a client receiving treatment there.

Cancer Resource Center representing at the Live Like Liz race in Watkins Glen!

We were surprised and honored that the Live Like Liz, Inc. organization donated $1,000 to the Cancer Resource Center.

Bob spoke at the Groton Public Library           —–>

Farewell to our fabulous interns, Samantha Thompsonand Scott Wheeler. Thanks for ALL your great work this semester!

Robert & Mary Leckey at the 2014 Distinguished Citizen Award Banquet honoringJerry Dietz

Happy Birthday, Kerry!

Our 3rd Annual Men’s Adventure Day took us to Syracuse for a Chief’s game.

The Chief’s organization, Ithaca Airline Limo & CFCU all contributed.

Thank you for participating and helping to make it a terrific day!

Affordable Acupuncture for People with Cancer

Our collaboration isn’t exclusive to Thursdays only anymore! Our sliding scale remains consistent all week (except every Wed. when returning patients have an option to pay $10 for a treatment!!!) But any patient undergoing treatment for cancer can walk in at ANY TIME, ANY DAY during our regular hours and have ear acupuncture, free of charge. Here is their website.

20th Annual Walkathon & 5K Run Website is open!

We don’t have a logo yet (so no
T-shirt photos or printable registration forms, etc.) but you can get a jump start
on your fundraising anyway!

Registration begins at 9am
Race starts at 10am
Zumba 10-10:15am
Walk starts at 10:15am
Pancake breakfast 10:30am

(Finger Lakes Beverage Center, Kinko’s, Ace Security, etc.). Those are private lots and the owners have requested that we not park there.

There is free parking on Green St., a free municipal parking lot on
W. Buffalo St. (between Meadow & Fulton), or we can help you with change for the meters in front of the building.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Donate to the Cancer Resource Center

It’s easy to donate to the Cancer Resource Center
through the Network for Good website.

We’re proud that all donations to CRC remain here in our community!

Bob Riter’s articles in the Ithaca Journal last month:

Blended Families and Cancer           ~            A Cancer Pity Party

Click here to see a YouTube video of Bob talking about his book for Rare Disease Report.

If You’re Donating, Look to Local Non-Profits First

Op Ed Piece by Bob Riter Originally published in the Ithaca Journal, May 9, 2014.

I sometimes receive phone calls from cancer-related organizations requesting donations. Since I’m a cancer survivor and the executive director of the Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, I listen to their pleas with both personal and professional curiosity.

After listening to their plea, I ask three questions. Click here to see the answers!

Cancer in the News

The Day I Started Lying to Ruth
(New York Magazine). This is a wonderful and poignant article written by the husband of a woman with Stage 4 breast cancer.

Teaching Doctors When to Stop Treatment(Washington Post)

Cancer Plus Chemo Might Put Your Job at Risk (NPR)

Are Dogs Really a Good Way to Screen for Cancer? (Slate)

Websites to Note

10 Persistent Cancer Myths Debunked
(UK Cancer Research)

Who Says You Need Two? (Swimsuits for women with one breast – and who are proud to show their scars)

An Interview with Robert Austin, physicist. What does a physicist think about cancer? This is an interesting interview with Princeton’s Robert Austin who’s one of several physicists involved in cancer research. (He’s controversial!)

Basser Research Center for BRCA(University of Pennsylvania). Its mission is to “deliver cutting edge research in basic and clinical sciences to advance the care of individuals who carry BRCA mutations.”

Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy for Women With Hormone Receptor–Positive Breast Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Focused Update (Just released!)

Take Note:


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