SPRINGFIELD — The Center for Human Development (CHD) and Cancer House of Hope have announced a merger between the two nonprofit agencies.
The CHD board of directors and Cancer House of Hope board of trustees both approved the merger late last year. It became effective Jan. 1.
Cancer House of Hope operates two houses, one in Westfield and one in Springfield, that offer free support groups, workshops, and classes to adults with cancer and their family members and friends. Cancer House of Hope is now a program of CHD in its Community Resources division. Cancer House of Hope’s events, activities, and services will continue without interruption, and the agency’s two full-time and one part-time employee are now employees of CHD.
“Given the economy, it was getting more and more difficult to keep things running,” said Cheryl Gorski, executive director of Cancer House of Hope, who will continue to manage the program as its director. “Merging with CHD will give us access to more resources for development, marketing, and support.”
Founded in 1997, Cancer House of Hope has an annual operating budget of about $235,000, all of it coming from donations, grants, and fund-raising events, such as its upcoming, third annual Cheeseburger in Paradise Bar-B-Que at the Cedars in Springfield on Feb. 19. Cancer House of Hope serves a total of about 260 people a month at its two locations: 86 Court St., Westfield; and 946 Plumtree Road, Springfield. In addition to its three staff, Cancer House of Hope also contracts for services with 12 per-diem counselors and depends on about 50 volunteers, who help run the homes and activities.
Gorski said she reached out to CHD President and CEO Jim Goodwin in August 2010 about the possibility of a merger.
“It made sense to help us get to the next level of what we can offer our members,” she said. “I’m very enthusiastic about it. I think it’s a great thing for us.”
Goodwin said that merging with an agency like Cancer House of Hope furthers CHD’s mission of offering community-oriented services in a way that helps protect people’s dignity. “Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer,” he said. “The programs and services Cancer House of Hope offers are just too important to risk losing.”
Those programs and services include yoga, Reiki, wig fittings, and bereavement support groups, among many others. While the two homes are open to anyone regardless of residency and need, they mostly serve people who live in Hampden County and Northern Conn.
For a full list of Cancer House of Hope programs and services, visit www.cancerhouseofhope.org. For more information about the merger, call Gorski at (413) 782-5500 (in Springfield) or (413) 562-0110 (in Westfield), or Goodwin at (413) 733-6624.