“Thank goodness I had worn a nice dress. I had no idea the new center was going to be named for me. I knew about the party to thank those who donated to the capital campaign, but not the naming. It was not just a surprise, it was a shock,” says Sandy Borrelli, a cancer survivor and longtime supporter of The Gathering Place, a support and educational center for cancer patients and their families.
The Gathering Place – The Sandy Borrelli Center, located in Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College West in Westlake, opened for programming July 31. The renovated, 6,500-square-foot leased space allows The Gathering Place to offer additional opportunities for those touched by cancer. Borrelli is the co-owner of Bella Capelli Sanctuario spa in Westlake. Her friends raised more than $150,000 in her honor. The Gathering Place opened its inaugural East Side location in 2000 in Beachwood and a smaller West Side location in 2008. The recent Growing West — Deepening Our Roots capital campaign raised more than $600,000 for the new facility.
“The location is unique. Being aligned with Tri-C gives us additional spaces to utilize if needed. The parking is wonderful, there is a green space in back and we are right on main streets for more exposure,” says Borrelli. “I just feel really blessed to be part of The Gathering Place and to have it become my life’s legacy.”
West Side residents Tom and Kathy Gable and Joe and Maureen Moses were co-chairs for the capital campaign. (Maureen is an art therapist at The Gathering Place.) Tom Gable agrees that the academic location is an advantage.
“Students will see it, their parents will see it and say, ‘What is The Gathering Place?’ It’s all about telling the story,” Gable says.
“We are happy to say we raised more pledges than our goal,” he adds. “In addition to corporate support, we had amazing support from individuals. We might have asked for $200, $500 or $1,000, and they gave $5,000 or $10,000. One couple came back with $25,000. You don’t know the story. What’s their connection, if any, to cancer? But cancer doesn’t discriminate. And their support will help everyone.
“The Gathering Place isn’t duplicated anywhere else. There are not a lot of options that offer this many free services,” he continues, referencing classes and programs that include exercise and fitness, nutrition, art, music, grief support and cancer survivorship, as well as access to a lending library and wig salon for all ages.
Not long ago, Gable was talking with a tenant who works in an office building that he co-owns. When Gable casually mentioned the capital campaign for the new facility, the tenant told him that his wife had cancer and frequently visited The Gathering Place. ”I never knew,” says Gable. “And, then all of a sudden, we had another donor who wanted to help us. It’s all about people telling their stories, and we thank them.”
The Gathering Place – East Side, 23300 Commerce Park, Beachwood, 216-595-9546; West Side, 25425 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, 216-595-5946; touchedbycancer.org