NRCI Board of Ambassadors Finalizes Spirit of Hope Celebration for November 12

The Board of Ambassadors and Associate Board will host its ninth annual Spirit of Hope Celebration on Friday, November 12, 2021 from 7:00pm to 10:30pm at Mohegan Sun Pocono in the Keystone Grand Ballroom. 

The event features cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, food stations, live music by The Exact Change, a super silent auction and a gift card guarantee.  Tickets are $130 each and can be purchased by calling the Cancer Institute at (570) 904-8808 or online at or purchased at the door the night of the event. 

The Spirit of Hope Tribute to Courage honoree is Richard P. Conaboy Jr. Dick’s passion for helping others is remarkable. He has lost several family members to cancer, and he is also a cancer survivor and doing well. Despite the losses and pain Dick has faced related to cancer and his own addiction recovery, he has continued to give back to the local community through the Spirit of Hope Celebration Board of Ambassadors, the American Cancer Society, and other organizations near and dear to him.  

Dick is a graduate of Marywood University where he earned a B.S in Psychology. He has been in the field of addiction and recovery for over 20 years. He spent two decades working at Clearbrook Treatment Center where he over saw the day-to-day operations of the DDAP licensed and JACHO accredited residential treatment facilities as Vice President of Clinical Operations. He is currently the CEO of Lakeside NEPA Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center located in Scranton. Dick is well respected in the community as a speaker, educator, and advocate for those in the recovery community.

The Board of Ambassadors is a group of individuals and business leaders in northeast Pennsylvania who have come together to raise funds & awareness to fight cancer in the local community through their support and promotion of a gala event. 

The Spirit of Hope Celebration benefits the Cancer Institute’s Community-Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. This program helps low income and un/underinsured individuals in northeast Pennsylvania get their recommended colorectal, breast, cervical, and lung cancer screenings. 

Front row, seated from left to right: Kristie Hynoski, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Traci Fosnot, Highmark, Inc., Marta Gomes, White House Black Market, Leo P. Vergnetti, chairmen of Board of Ambassadors, Meghan Gagorik, American Heart Association, and Jo Ann Romano Hallesky, Jo Ann Romano Hair Salon.  

Standing, from left to right: Amanda E. Marchegiani, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Nevin Gerber, Gerber Associates, Karen M. Saunders, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Nick Colangelo, John Heil, Patty Vergnetti, AARP Foundation, and Matt Beynon, BrabenderCox, LLC.  

Absent from photo:  Clarence Baltrusaitis, NET Credit Union, Thomas Blaskiewicz, McCarthy Tire, Dino Campitelli, Serenity Lodge, Trish Colangelo, Richard P. Conaboy, Jr., Thomas P. Cumming, Jr., Esq., Cummings Law, Thomas P. Cummings III, Esq., William Davis, Office of Rep. Kyle Mullins, Tom DePietro, DePietro’s Pharmacy, Mary Erwine, Erwine Home Health and Hospice, Joseph G. Ferguson, Esq., DBi Services, Greg Gagorik, James T. Gorman, BB&T Bank, Jennifer Heil, Charles C. Jefferson, Jefferson-Werner, LLC, Joe Mattioli, Paul McGolin, McGloin’s Flourish, Brian McQuestion, Pride Mobility Products Corp., Evie Rafalko McNulty, Lackwawanna County Recorder of Deeds, Philip Medico, Medico Industries, Inc., Dan Meuser, U.S. Representative, Chuck Morgan, David J. Nape, Centris Consulting, Inc., Christopher A. Peters, M.D., NRCI Board, Vito Pizzo, Pizzo Painting, Billy Rinaldi, Mark Construction Services, Inc., John P. Rodgers, Esq., Caverly, Shea, Phillips & Rodgers, LLC, Vince Scarpetta, Pure Green Consultants, LLC, P. Richard Scheller, Geo-Science Engineering & Testing, LLC, Patrick Sicilio, Kem-Tek Industrial Chemical Supplies, Eugene D. Sperazza, Esq. Law Offices of Eugene D. Sperazza, Melissa Stites, Hornbeck Chevrolet, Steven J. Szydlowski, Ph.D., University of Scranton, Joseph S. Tomko, Fidelity Bank, Joe Van Wie, JVW Inc., Dana Morris, Regional Hospital of Scranton, Linda-Marino Brooks, Jessica Ruddy, PennDot, Robin Long, and Vanessa Vergnetti, Premier.  

Cancer Institute Announces New Officer and Member to the Board of Directors

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute’s Board of Directors appointed Robert Cole PhD to the Board of Directors. He will serve as Vice Chair to fulfill a mid-term vacancy.  

Robert Cole, PhD, is the Senior Vice President, Chief Analytics Officer at Allied Services Integrated Health System. He is a 25-year employee of the health system. The non-profit organization is the leading provider of healthcare and human services for northeastern Pennsylvanians with disabilities and chronic illness.   

Robert earned a Master’s and a Doctorate in Experimental Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, NY and brings strong data analytics backed by actionable insights into the organization’s business lines.  

Robert Cole, PhD, lives in Duryea with his wife, Donna, and their daughter Carsyn. He grew up in Duryea, graduated from Pittston Area High School and earned his bachelor’s in psychology from Bloomsburg University in 1992.  

Northeast Regional Cancer Institute Cuts Ribbon at New Location

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the new office space and feature their new logo on Thursday, August 26, 2021. The new office is located at 312 Adams Ave, Scranton. After the ribbon cutting, office tours were available. 2021 marks the Cancer Institute’s 30th anniversary year.

Back row, from left to right:   Adam Basalyga, Bedrock Technology, Frank Suraci, Bedrock Technology, Michael Frigoletto, DeLuca Frigoletto Advertising, Robert Durkin, President, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Holly Carron, NRCI Board Member, Dr. Samuel Lesko, Medical Director, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Brian Doughton, District Director for Senator Marty Flynn, and Bill Davis, Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania State Representative Kyle Mullins.  

Front row, from left to right: Amanda E. Marchegiani, Community Relations Coordinator, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Ann Crisanti, Chief Financial Officer, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Susan Belin, NRCI Board member and NRCI founder, Karen M. Saunders, President, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Mayor Paige Cognetti, Representative Bridget Kosierowski, Laura Toole, Executive Vice President, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Karen Ryczak, Director of Surveillance and Navigation Programs, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, and Jennifer Manganello, District Staff for Congressman Matt Cartwright.

Duryea at Dusk Raises $4,000 for Northeast Regional Cancer Institute

The Duryea at Dusk committee hosted their fifth Duryea at Dusk 5K and 1-mile walk as a virtual race again this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Participants were encouraged to complete their 5K or 1-mile safely around their neighborhood, on a treadmill, track or at a park between June 5-12. All runners and walkers received a customizable Duryea at Dusk virtual bib and had the opportunity to post their finisher photos on Duryea at Dusk’s Facebook page. Awards were given to top runners. 

Through personal experience with a family member battling cancer, Duryea native sisters, Katie Brudzinski and Allison Brudzinski wanted to be part of something bigger that would involve their entire community. Duryea at Dusk was created from that idea. This is the fifth year of this event. It will impact the local community and support a local organization, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, whose mission is to ease the burden of cancer in northeastern Pennsylvania.  Since inception, Duryea at Dusk has raised $44,261 for the Cancer Institute.

Individuals or businesses looking for future information can reach out to Duryea at Dusk committee by email at

From left to right:  Eddie Klein, Karen M. Saunders, President, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Amanda E. Marchegiani, Community Relations Coordinator, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Aimee Balchune, Katie Brudzinski, Duryea at Dusk co-founder, and Kristen Kabacinski. 

Absent from the photo:  Duryea at Dusk committee members-Allison Brudzinski, co-founder, David Tighe,  and Krista Gromelski. 

Northeast Regional Cancer Institute Receives Grant

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute received a $1,000 grant from the Luzerne County Bar Association Charitable Foundation at their annual summer outing at Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter.

The event featured an evening of dinner, presentations featuring two student scholarships and honoring Attorney William F. Anzalone. Additionally, grants were presented to several nonprofit organizations in the region including the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute. This $1,000 grant will help to support the Community-Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. This program helps low income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals who are not up to date with breast, cervical, colon and lung cancer screenings.