Latest News

December 31, 2020


A Personal Note

Since our first newsletter in 1997 we have shared pictures from our Music in the Atrium programs, our Cabaret fundraisers and our many music-related workshops. The faces of the participants have spoken for us- showing our donors the positive impact their contributions have made on so many lives.

This year, the photos of these high points are missing. The lobbies and patient waiting areas are quiet—signs and instructions on social distancing and safety measures replace the flowers, the seasonal decorations and the usual mood-lifting touches. Since early March there are no photos- no evidence of our continued presence.

Yet our efforts never stopped. We are deeply grateful to all of the professionals who worked tirelessly to go “virtual’ and fill the void that the pandemic created. As we go to press we are amazed and in awe of the support services that are available to patients and their families. Creativity, ingenuity and modern technology have joined forces with dedicated human beings to bring you the programs you hope for, need and deserve.

Thank you to all of our heroes- the doctors, nurses, support staff, EMT crew, volunteers and so many more who have helped keep our lives on a somewhat even footing during these unprecedented times. The list of heroes is long and plentiful because it spans communities, places of business, volunteer services and so much more. 

We look forward to seeing you again, in person, when the world turns right side up, and we can once again smile at each other without our masks on.

To you our consistent, constant supporters, thank you for helping us go forward. There is no more important time than now to join our efforts- donate online, purchase tribute and holiday cards or use our mail/reply envelope.

Stay safe and well. Wear your mask. Together we can make miracles happen!

— Linda Wacks

Broadway Rocked Cancer

Monday November 18, 2019 was a rainy, foggy night. But inside the auditorium at South Orange Performing Arts Center there were bright lights and an enthusiastic crowd of attendees. Broadway Rocks Cancer, honoring Linda Wacks and the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Memorial Fund was underway. Some of Broadway’s finest stars came to SOPAC and regaled the crowd. They changed that gloomy evening into a star-studded galaxy, highlighted by Norbert Leo Butz, Shoshana Bean, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Natalie Joy Johnson, Tamika Lawrence, Nick Rashad Burroughs, Adam Kaplan, Ashley Loren,Ryann Redmond,Jelani Remy, Joey Taranto,Tony Page, Julie Reiber, Happy McPartlin, Sara Walsh, and our own Bob Egan. The stars, many of whom encountered heavy traffic on their way, donated their time to raise money for Summit Medical Foundation’s Comfort Project. The Comfort Project funds support programs for cancer patients and their families that address the emotional and spiritual aspects of cancer treatment. The Jeffrey Frank Wacks Memorial Fund has given the seed money for Music in the Atrium at the Park, and the Pilates Strength and Wellness Program. Both programs are extremely popular with patients, staff and caregivers.

It was an exhilarating evening followed by a reception thanking the Stars, the sponsors and the honorees. Kudos to Investors Bank the main sponsor of this yearly event. Thank you also to Wacks, DeBona Beilin and Weber, Dr Sheila & Dr. Hari Nadiminit, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, BASF, Blue Elephant Capital Management, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Coverys Genoic Health, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Summit Medical Group, TAPinto and Walgreens for lending their support. 

No one suspected on that rainy Monday night in November that Broadway Rocks Cancer would be the final, in person fundraiser that Summit Medical Foundation would host for many many months. We stepped into the next decade looking over our shoulders and realized that life as we knew it was changing. It soon became apparent that the pandemic that seemed far away had reached our shores. Every planned event was now postponed, canceled or happening on Zoom.

Cancer didn’t pause, patients didn’t stop needing treatments; the programs that eased the anxiety, enriched the surroundings were now on hold. Patients In Need were still looking for financial assistance. This year- 2020 – is one we will not easily forget. The support programs need our backing now more than ever.

Thank you to all who supported and enjoyed Broadway Rocks Cancer.We look forward to being together again very soon. Yes, Broadway does Rock Cancer, and so does SMG Foundation.

Music in the Atrium

Bob Egan is performing for us virtually. To connect with Bob please check his schedule on Facebook or at Bob’s website.

We look forward to welcoming you all back to the Carol Simon Cancer Center Lobby when safety guidelines permit us to be together.

To learn about virtual music therapy programs please check the monthly calendar or call Leah Oswanski, MA, LPC, MT-BC at 973-971-5919.

We will update our information as soon as our programs can resume in person.

 

Pilates Strength and Recover Program

If you peeked into the Resource Room on a normal Monday afternoon at Summit Medical Oncology Center in Florham Park you would have seen an array of mats on the floor. The chairs were pushed away and the men and women looked anxious to start their pilates workout with Tara-Lyn Nunziata or Amy Bennett. Both women are certified pilates instructors trained to work with cancer patients. 

The Pilates Strength and Recovery Program, the brainchild of Tara-Lyn Nunziata has added another choice for both patients and caregivers being treated at SMG Oncology Center. The breathing, movement and mind body connection so vital to everyday living has been affirmed by many loyal participants as an important aid in feeling and doing well.

Then suddenly what they took for granted changed; no more in person lessons, no more sessions that promoted breathing, movement and wellness.  The Monday class participants had formed a special bond.  It is easy and comfortable to exercise with others who are dealing with cancer treatments or in recovery. These classmates were now dealing with a pandemic, their personal cancer and the loss of their special class. Tara-Lyn and Amy acted quickly and arranged for the Monday’s Pilate class to meet with them virtually. They have volunteered their time to keep the Pilates Strength and Recovery Program continuing without interruption. Thank you to these heroes who know that support comes in many forms. They truly understand the importance of treating the whole body. 

Please visit The Studio-Tar-Lyn Pilates for more information. 

Every Monday virtually at 1pm.

For information about joining please contact
Monica Cotton
Patient Navigator
Summit Medical Group Oncology Center
973-404-7037


 

Music in the Atrium at the Park

The Jeffrey Frank Wacks Memorial Fund is a proud partner of SMG Foundation as together we sponsor “Music in the Atrium at the Park.” Thursdays are special if you like music, refreshments, sing-a-longs and an atmosphere that defies a typical cancer center.

What happens when a pandemic hits? We find a way for Bob Egan to greet his guests, play their requests and still put some sunshine and brightness in the air.

Summit Medical Group Foundation immediately recognized the importance of this popular program­—a staple for so many who plan their appointments and treatments around Thursday mornings.

Within weeks of restricting visitors and volunteers SMGF had Bob Egan playing LIVE- from his home in Pennsylvania. Every Thursday morning from eleven to noon you can find Bob on Facebook. His winning smile, his dapper outfits, and his overflowing songbook paint a welcome sight. Even for those of us who are “technologically challenged” it’s easy to request a song, say “hi” to a friend who is also listening, or just sit back, relax and let the music soothe your mind.

If you are at the center receiving treatment, bring your phone or ipad and hear Bob play. The music is recorded and can be accessed at any time. We are never far away from Bob- and the power of music.

The Jeffrey Wacks Scholarship

Jinqi (Jessica) Fan became the latest Wacks Scholar during a virtual awards ceremony in May, 2020. Jingqi graduated with a BFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Communication Design and a minor in Computer Science.

“As a communication design graduate, I strive to create work that employs design as a mechanism for activism and social good. With the current pandemic in full swing, funding from the Wacks Scholarship will not only lighten my financial burden but will also allow me to focus on creating better and more exciting work.”

With scholarship funds she will expand her capstone project which focuses on highlighting the ramifications of one additional degree of global temperature rise to the cultural and environmental heritage worldwide. Using her love for photography and her knowledge of coding Jinqi will work towards a web ready production, available on all browsers. This passionate young woman hopes to bring to the public an awareness of the plight that many locations around the world are facing. During her four years at Washington University she actively participated in Women in Architecture + Design on the Wash U campus.

Her sophisticated skills, her enormous compassion, and her enthusiasm will no doubt result in a fascinating and thought-provoking end product.

We are delighted to welcome Jinqi Fan to the growing list of remarkable artists graduating from the prestigious Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. To learn more about Jinqi and see her work please visit www.jinqi.work instagram.com/wiad.wustl

Music Therapy Happenings

Carol G. Simon Cancer Center

​Morristown Medical Center

Music in the Atrium will return—we have skipped a beat this year, but we are confident that as the Covid 19 virus abates, and as Morristown Medical Center continues to comply with the regulations guiding it, someday soon the Lobby will resonate with music and song. We celebrated our nineteenth year of Music in the Atrium this past summer. The CGS Cancer Center lobby, normally filled with visitors, volunteers, refreshments and the sounds of music remained empty. Bob Egan, our beloved piano man reminisced about the first time he sat down and played from his home in Pennsylvania. Thanks to the amazing technology available today we are hosting Musical Mornings with Bob on two Fridays each month until we can once again be together to share music, song and smiles. Bob’s schedule can be found on Facebook at Bob Egan Entertainment.

We are living through unprecedented times; cancer diagnoses and treatments have not paused or shut down; they continue, impacting patients and families in more ways than ever before. We continue to offer our music therapy programs and sessions in accordance with the medical guidelines regulating us.

Leah Oswanski MA, LPC, MT-BC and Erin Bolding Rinaldi MT-BC are working hard to provide music therapy sessions to both inpatient and outpatient areas, as well as to the palliative care unit. After a brief absence Erin is back on the inpatient unit, providing procedural support at bedside for patients on Simon 5 and end of life support for patients and families on Simon 3.

In her role as the Coordinator of Creative Arts Leah continues to explore innovative ways to bring support programs to patients both virtually and in person. Virtual sound meditation workshops are happening every other week until the end of the year.

The Heartbeat Music Therapy Program which began last year continues. The interested patient’s heartbeat is recorded and then used to create a music track or CD incorporating the heartbeat. Music in and of itself is calming—knowing that this track is your heartbeat, your personalized cd can bring an overwhelming sense of well-being to you.

We are extremely excited to share a patient’s heartbeat CD with you. Please visit the link to hear and see her amazing and beautiful story. www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIeot5dAIuA

Since the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Memorial Fund was established in 1997 your donations have provided patients and caregivers with numerous avenues of support. We are most grateful to all who recognize our efforts and have allowed us to add additional modalities to our repertoire. Music entertainment, music therapy, personalized cds, drumming workshops, sound meditation will go on. They may be different than you remember but change can be good. It makes us think and be creative. We will find our new normal and continue to share our programs with all of you.

We Remember...

Brother of Myra Entenberg
Maxine Finkelstein
​Dorothy Daniel
Ovarian Cancer Survivors
Gloria Guenzel
Carmela Testa
Susan Spurr
Emil and Edith Fischer
Annette Bonomo
Eleanor Bahnatka
Jeffrey Frank Wacks
Judie Gerstein
Samuel Sirota
Nancy Block Zenna
Michael Lacz
Dennis Romain
William Donzeiser IV
Sheldon Brandman
Harold Adler
Mel Elfin
Arthur M. Greenbaum
Clive M. Coutts
Sylvia Narcez
Frank and Sophie Glassner
Marvin Stoler
Barry Ginsberg
Doris Glassner
Irwin Schwartz
Peter J. Hollitscher
Arthur Horn
Hillel Ben-Asher
Theodore Largman

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our Foundation. Since its inception in 1997 we have used your gifts for a multitude of services offering emotional support and comforts that extend beyond normal limits.

Tribute cards and holiday cards are available for purchase. Click the Donate tab.

Contact Us

For questions about our programs or services please contact
Leah Oswanski, MA, LPC, MT-BC
Carol G. Simon Cancer Center
​Leah.Oswanski@atlantichealth.org
973.971.5919

Monica Cotton
Patient Navigator
​Summit Medical Group Oncology Center
mcotton@smg-foundation.org
973-404-7037