After Traci DiStefano, 49, of Richboro died in January 2019 from a rare form of ovarian cancer, 22 of her friends and their children founded Traci’s Tribe, a Huntingdon Valley nonprofit to keep Traci’s memory alive by helping others.

In less than a few months, 14-year-old Caroline “Casey” Stone, a cochair of the organization, helped raise $50,000 with an inaugural fund-raising event called Kid’s Comfort for Cancer, exceeding her initial goal of $15,000. The funds were donated to Fox Chase Cancer Center, where DiStefano received treatments.

This is not the only time Stone has mobilized support for a good cause. When she was 8, she raised almost $1,000 for Autism Cares. Two years later, she collected almost $3,000 for DiStefano, who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time and was unable to work. When she’s not helping others, Stone — an eighth-grader at Murray Avenue School — loves to play golf and field hockey.

Help for pain and anxiety through technology

Elwood Hungarter, CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Philadelphia, holds one of the virtual reality headsets that the organization will be using to help patients for relief of pain and anxiety.
Visiting Nurse Association of Philadelphia
Elwood Hungarter, CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Philadelphia, holds one of the virtual reality headsets that the organization will be using to help patients for relief of pain and anxiety.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Philadelphia has received a $25,000 grant from the Independence Foundation to supply virtual-reality headsets to hospice patients. Preliminary research has found that patients who use the technology report a reduction in pain, anxiety, and other symptoms.

VNA patients who use the headsets will experience different immersive experiences, among them a tour of London, swimming with dolphins, and a tour of the Bavarian Alps. The technology will also take patients through guided meditation experiences that include “mindful breathing” and “present moment.”

The VNA program will be piloted at the agency’s 15-bed inpatient hospice unit in Philadelphia.

Cabrini U. receives funding for new nursing program

The Antoinette Iadarola Center for Science, Education and Technology on the Cabrini University campus.
Cabrini University
The Antoinette Iadarola Center for Science, Education and Technology on the Cabrini University campus.

Cabrini University received a $1 million gift from James J. and Frances M. Maguire to help with operating and capital expenses for the school’s new nursing program as well as for scholarships, the school announced in January.

The West Conshohocken-based nonprofit, which created the Maguire Nursing Scholars program at Cabrini, supports funding education. The college has also been awarded a $37,000 grant from the McLean Contributionship.

The Radnor Township-based school will launch a bachelor of science in nursing program in the fall. The grant will fund equipment that lets students simulate real-life scenarios in a high-fidelity suite in the Clinical Simulation Center, which is being developed on campus in the Antoinette Iadarola Center for Science, Education and Technology. The new technology will help the students better understand the effects of the illness and injury they are studying.

The McLean Contributionship is a private foundation based in Wayne that funds the arts, education, the environment, and animal welfare.