HAWTHORNE, N.J. — When Daniel Hoffman of Hawthorne died of colon cancer last July at age 44, his widow, Trish, was left to carry on.
She found great support in a place she didn’t even know existed: CancerCare®.
This weekend, the tables are turned: she’s supporting it.
As captain of Hoff’s Hearts and Soles, Hoffman is leading a team of 24 walkers Sunday in the CancerCare® 2016 Paramus Walk/Run for Hope at Bergen Community College.
The 72-year-old national nonprofit provides free emotional, practical, and financial help to anyone whose life is affected by cancer.
CancerCare®, whose New Jersey office is in Ridgewood, helps 10,000 people every year statewide.
“It’s an organization you don’t want to know about,” Hoffman said, “but I’m very thankful it’s there.”
Cancer took Daniel Hoffman quickly, cutting off his happy life as a husband, father of four, operations manager at Coppola Services in Ringwood, and varsity basketball coach at Eastern Christian High School in North Haledon.
When he was diagnosed in March 2015, the cancer already had metastasized to his liver.
“I was in shock and zombie-like for a while,” Hoffman said. “My daughter had some issues, too, and I had to do something.”
That’s when a friend told her about CancerCare®. Hoffman called and was immediately welcomed into a family of people who understood what she and her children were going through.
They were invited to a Christmas party and, soon thereafter, connected to two counselors – one for Hoffman, one for her daughter.
The counseling is helping.
“Because they’re telling my daughter it’s OK to talk about it, she talks about it with me a lot,” Hoffman said. “It’s gotten us closer.”
In June, the two were invited to a free CancerCare® weekend at Healing Hearts Camp on a Pennsylvania dude ranch.
Recently, Pat Steiginga, Hoffman’s mother, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She started chemo this week.
Now knowing all that CancerCare® does, Hoffman is taking her mother there for a wig.
“I’ll bring her to the Ridgewood office, where they have a whole room of wigs,” Hoffman said. “They also have hats and scarves.”
The names of Daniel Hoffman and Pat Steiginga will be on the back of the purple and white T-shirts that Hoff’s Hearts and Soles wears tomorrow.
So will the names of others touched by cancer who are important to the Hoffman family:
Dorothy Diane Hoffman, Daniel’s mother who also died of colon cancer;
Lynn Faber, Trish’s aunt;
Dorothea Kennedy, the mother of Trish’s friend; and
Stratton Drivanos, the husband of a friend who is, happily, in remission.
To support Hoff’s Hearts and Soles, CLICK HERE.
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