SARASOTA, Fla. – The Team Tony Cancer Foundation, a Sarasota-based nonprofit organization that provides free peer-to-peer cancer support and resources to cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers in the local community, recently unveiled its new Cancer Connection Center at 3562 S. Osprey Ave. in suite c in Sarasota during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 12.
The Cancer Connection Center (C3) is a coffee-shop-style concept that provides a safe, warm, supportive and welcoming environment designed to deliver peer-to-peer support, create a sense of belonging and provide free resources and educational opportunities to enhance the well-being of those impacted by cancer.
C3 houses a casual, self-service coffee bar with a kitchen area that offers coffee, tea, water and light snacks. Those seeking support can grab a cup of coffee and connect with a survivor teammate. Cancer fighters or caregivers are matched with a survivor partner with similarities to put together a journey plan that is specific to the fighters’ diagnosis. A profile is created to track their doctors and national and local resources, among other things.
“We pair cancer survivors with cancer fighters for peer support,” said Tony McEachern, founder of the Team Tony Cancer Foundation and a 16-year brain cancer survivor who was diagnosed at age 33. “It would have been helpful to have someone who had gone through the process to offer some insight and inspiration. The Cancer Connection Center is the first of its kind, and in the short time we’ve been open, more than 100 people have come through our doors, looking for help and wanting to contribute.”
The Werlin Education Center features a large, glass-walled area in the middle of C3 and provides space for training, workshops, educational classes, meetings and collaborative sessions with community partners. Visitors can learn about cancer services and resources in the community or attend a workshop. There is also a room for confidential, one-on-one conversations.
“With the Cancer Connection Center, we wanted to take the clinical out of cancer,” said McEachern. “The community came together to build a place for the community, and I am so grateful for the support of our mission to help those battling cancer.”
Drawn to that mission, local companies graciously gifted many of the equipment and necessities needed for the center. PGT Innovations donated the premium windows and doors, Michael Saunders & Company outfitted the space with computers, Tri-County Air Conditioning supplied state-of-the-art air conditioning and venting system and Sharp contributed a 60-inch touch-screen TV.
The space will also feature a 50-quote wall to inspire, motivation and empower those that come to C3 for support. So far, the quotes in English, Italian, Russian, Danish, Portuguese, Swedish and Spanish will adorn the wall, which has been donated by Sir Speedy.
Other significant contributions include a community table and water feature by Jake Brady Concrete by Design, bistro tables and chairs by Sarasota Collection and the self-service coffee bar by Aroma Coffee Service.
Team Tony Cancer Foundation’s four staff members will work out of the center.
C3 houses several organizations, including the Team Tony Cancer Foundation, Cancer Resource Network and Coming Together Against Cancer.
About Team Tony Cancer Foundation
A 16-year brain cancer survivor and an avid cyclist, Tony McEachern’s vision of creating a peer-to-peer cancer support foundation became a reality in 2010 when the Team Tony Cancer Foundation officially launched. Located in Sarasota, Fla., the nonprofit’s mission is to provide free peer-to-peer cancer support and resources to cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers in the community. To date in 2018, the Team Tony Cancer Foundation has already provided more than $25,000 in gas cards, flights, and other items related to diagnosis to cancer fighters in Florida’s Suncoast area. To learn more about Team Tony, visit www.TeamTony.org.