Cancer Support Team Honors Community Leaders at “A Celebration of Love & Hope” in Rye
Joe McCoy, Honorary Co-Chair and Tania Weiss, CST Executive Director
For more than four decades, the Cancer Support Team (CST), headquartered in Purchase, has been enhancing the quality of life for multiple thousands of patients and families affected by cancer with such essential health services as professional nurse education and advocacy, social-work counseling, case management, cash, and other supportive services at no cost and without regard to insurance coverage at any stage of the disease.
Patients and families reside in Southern Westchester County.
CST, founded in 1978 under the guidance and vision of Arnold Wald, M.D., and Gayle Lee, R.N, and the only Westchester County-based non-profit home care program licensed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), has once again decided, post pandemic, to continue handing out awards to deserving community leaders for their excellence in non-profit work.
In May, at Rye’s Shenorock Shore Club, CST at “A Celebration of Love & Hope” gala, CST honored two community leaders with CST awards that specifically highlighted one’s lifetime commitment to eradicating cancer and the other for lending a hand to a number philanthropic endeavors in Westchester.
Carla Volpe Porter and John M. Tolomer were those selected to receive the Awards.
The Barbara Melamed Memorial Award, presented every two years when appropriate to organizations and individuals who have made a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families, went to Carla Volpe Porter, a retired General Counsel of Renaissance Technologies LLC, an investment advisory firm. Porter is a former chair of CST who lost her mother to colon cancer when she was four years old.
Barbara Melamed was a CST social worker whose own experience with cancer gave her a special empathy for her patients.
When Dr. Ward decided to step down as chairman of CST in 2011, he asked Porter, now with nearly 20 years of service with the organization, to take his place as chair of the Board. Porter held that position for six years and remains a dedicated CST director and trusted advisor.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Barbara Melamed Award,” Porter said. “CST is very special to me, as I view it as the lifeline my mother never had. The work I do to support those who actively help our patients gives me immense satisfaction. What I do for CST I do for my mother and all mothers like her. I believe she would be proud.
“Looking back, however,” Porter continued, “it was Gideon G. Panter, MD and OB/GYN, (who was her doctor for 35 years) “who compelled me to stop hiding from cancer and instead try to do something affirmative about it. He gave me the gift of hope.”
The Wald-Lee Vision award, named for CST founders Wald and Lee and presented every other year when appropriate to individuals who have demonstrated a concern in the community through their personal or philanthropic endeavors, went to John M. Tolomer, recently named president of Valley Bank’s Westchester Division. Prior to this appointment, he was president & CEO of the Westchester Bank and The Westchester Bank Holding Corporation.
In addition, his lifelong commitment to the community incudes service with the Board of Directors for the Hudson River Museum, the Westchester County Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the United Way of Westchester. Tolomer also served in advisory capacity to Food-Patch Feeding Westchester, as well as the non-profit Leake and Watts.
CST is the only Westchester-based home care program solely focused on cancer and provides in-home services to those with cancer and their family members at any stage of the disease, at no cost and without regard to insurance coverage.