Montco Happening has been so fortunate to cover a large amount of fundraisers, charities and the hero’s that represent them. It is an absolute blessing that we can use our magazine and influence within our community to help raise awareness on some very deserving residents in need of help. The Breathing Room Foundation is just one of those charities. This group of giving individuals has created one of the most unique and beneficial programs for Montgomery County cancer survivors, sufferers and their families. Please continue to read this article to find out how you can help these local cancer victims get through the holidays with a smile.

Their Mission!

Breathing Room’s mission is to reach out to every family within a twenty-mile radius of Jenkintown who has a member suffering from cancer. The volunteers, contributors and founders recognize that a cancer diagnosis affects every aspect of a family’s life; emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial. With that in mind, they strive to provide a deserving family with whatever it is that will allow them a bit of “breathing room” from their daily struggle against cancer. It is their hope that this will allow them to concentrate all of their efforts toward regaining their physical health.

“It is rare to find someone among us who is not aware of a person surviving with cancer. It is as rare to find someone among us who has not been inspired by the courage and perseverance the survivor has shown in the face of disease. These survivors should be awarded for their efforts”.

Nominate A Recipient 

Reach out to The Breathing Room Foundation to make them aware of a person you know who is fighting cancer, if you would like to have their service made available to them. Awards include things such as house cleaning, home renovation, or gifts for children. If you would like to nominate someone to receive an award please fill out the nomination form.

Fighting for a Dream

“As my wife waged her six year battle with cancer, I witnessed first hand the destruction of this disease. During that same time, I witnessed first hand the comfort of care. With each diagnosis, as cancer attacked her breast, lymph nodes, lungs, spine, and brain there were the gifts. Diane, our children and I were the recipients of so many gifts. With each gift we heard the words “I care.” At one of our darkest moments, we received a visit from a friend who offered us great comfort. It was at that time, Diane confided in me, “…sometimes I think I’m going to be cured, and this cancer will go away. That may not happen, but I think I’m being cured in other ways.”

I have thanked so many people for such gifts that I wonder if a thank you from me means anything. The words as I say them sound insincere. The best way I can show my gratitude is to do similar things for others as were done for us. When our foundation helps someone renovate their home or send someone on vacation or offers presents to children we hear “thank you.” With each opportunity to help others, I am saying thank you.

We were in a battle between care and disease. This battle did not start with us. Others before us waged such a battle, and it does not end with us. I ask you to join me with this foundation because I assure you I am not done fighting.”
Co-Founder, Bernie Fitzgerald


A Sister’s Love & Support

Mary Ellen Fitzgerald is Vice President and Director of The Breathing Room Foundation (TBRF). She has been an active member of the board of directors of the foundation since 1997, the year that the organization was created. She now holds the position of Vice President and Director. Just three months before her sister Diane Fitzgerald lost her battle against breast cancer, she and her husband Bernie asked some of their closest friends and family members to help them make their vision (TBRF) come to fruition.

Mary Ellen says, “I am honored to be able to help carry out my sister’s legacy. I could not be more proud of the work of The Breathing Room Foundation and am grateful everyday for having the opportunity to be a part of it. The words of gratitude that I hear from the families that we serve are a true testament to the life that my sister lived. She lived her life to serve others and with TBRF she continues to do that even after her passing.”
Mary Ellen Fitzgerald



Established in February of 1997, The Breathing Room Foundation raises money in a number of ways. The list of events have been designated as their major fundraisers. Donations to this non-profit charitable organization are the life blood of their efforts.
Three Great Ways To Give:
1. Become a Sponsor
2. Sponsor An Event
3. Make a Donation
*The Breathing Room is a verified United Way Recipient, donor #6506



Please consider volunteering some time to help one of our families cut the grass…pull some weeds… plant a flower bed… pick up branches and twigs from the winter. These things may be simple and easy tasks for us, but for a cancer patient struggling with every day life, the little things mean the world! This could be as a one time service or an ongoing weekly or monthly commitment. Feel free to enlist your children, youth group or scout troop to join you. This is a perfect opportunity for teenagers who need service hours or sports teams looking to bond. The Breathing Room is currently  in need of some kind hearted volunteers in Levittown, Cheltenham, Glenside and Warminster.

“Thank you! This type of support offers our families some much needed “breathing room” as they continue their daily struggles with cancer”.
Eileen Carissimi

Please Help with Their Holiday Outreach Program

Link: Holiday Outreach Program
Start: 10/13/2012
End: 12/21/2012

Contact & Info
Mary Ellen Fitzgerald
Facebook: The Breathing Room Foundation

“Diane’s legacy will always live on through the very people that she and her family continue to help throughout our community” 

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