Todd W. Ellison

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The MAE Foundation Selected as Finalist for the

LIVESTRONG® Community Impact Project

Programs that improve the lives of people affected by cancer

to be awarded in online voting campaign


Providence, RI – March 24, 2014 – The MAE Foundation has been selected as a finalist to receive the Vital Hearts program as part of the LIVESTRONG®Community Impact Project, which was created to bring proven cancer support programs to communities across the U.S. Grantees will now be determined through a public, online voting campaign beginning at 10 a.m. CST on March 24 on


After the voting period comes to a close, the 39 organizations with the top votes in seven geographical regions across the country will receive up to $15,600 to replicate and implement one of three sustainable programs dedicated to supporting people living with cancer. Since 2001, the LIVESTRONG Foundation has funded more than 200 programs nationwide, helping millions of patients, survivors, families and caregivers affected by cancer from the moment of diagnosis through survivorship.


In addition to the Foundation’s financial support, the chosen organizations will receive a toolkit consisting of facilitator manuals, participant materials and evaluation forms; training and support from the model program’s staff; access to additional tools and resources; and a full report on the historical replication of this program upon completion.


Community Impact Project model programs are chosen for replication based on the needs of the cancer community and their ability to show years of success and effectiveness through evaluations. Hundreds of qualified hospitals, cancer centers, universities and non-profits from across the U.S. applied to be part of the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project in 2014 and three were selected:


  • The Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program has become an essential component of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center’s integrative approach to caring for cancer patients. The program’s overarching goal is to facilitate relaxation, decrease anxiety and stress, enhance wellness, improve pain management, and provide comfort and support for cancer patients and their caregivers. Music therapy is proven to reduce stress and pain levels associated with illness and hospitalization. For many patients, the simple act of listening to music provides a therapeutic release, promoting healing and overall wellbeing. Clinical music therapy services are provided on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Two part-time music therapists conduct sessions with patients either at the bedside or in common (environmental) areas of the cancer center. The program has served 2,175 patients/caregivers and conducted 5,842 sessions.


  • Pablove Shutterbugs, the signature arts program of The Pablove Foundation, teaches children living with cancer to develop their creative voice through the art of photography. Many of the students are removed from school during their illness and treatment, which leads to a disruption in their daily routines. Through Shutterbugs’ carefully designed curriculum, students have the opportunity to develop pride and an enhanced self-esteem as they learn challenging, new skills. Trained professional photography mentors guide its students through a series of lessons created specifically to encourage photographic creativity. They gain hands-on experience while learning the principles and techniques of photography including the basics of composition, lighting and perspective. Each of their students keeps their point-and-shoot camera kit at the end of the program to encourage them to go out and see the world differently and continue practicing their art form as young photographers. The goals for the students include: increasing their sense of joy, encouraging their creative thinking, fostering their self-esteem and developing their independence.


  • VitalHearts: Secondary Trauma Resiliency’s mission is caring for cancer treatment providers who suffer from secondary or vicarious trauma, which is a significant, although hidden problem. Secondary Traumatic Stress includes such reactions as: depression, anxiety, persistent trauma imagery, sleep disturbances, mistrust of their organization, isolating from family/friends, frequent illness and loss of mission optimism, among other symptoms, due to the deep exposure to suffering that care providers are exposed to. VitalHearts’ program, the Secondary Trauma Resiliency Training (STRT), revitalizes care providers, often saving careers of those who work with cancer patient and survivors by making them more resilient. This allows institutions to better retain their staff expertise, which gives crucial value to patients.


The MAE Foundation is one of the organizations still in contention for the award. If selected, The MAE Foundation will use the awarded funds to bring the Vital Hearts program to RI and to help improve the lives of cancer patients by improving the lives of their care providers. The MAE Foundation operates a small local Cancer Navigation & Survivorship Center in Providence, RI. The Vital Hearts program will be brought to our center and offered to cancer care providers throughout our state. The MAE Foundation also intends to invite representative’s from RI’s cancer centers to also get trained in the Vital Hearts program to deliver the services internally at their facilities.


Bringing the Vital Hearts Secondary Trauma program to The MAE Foundation through the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project will allow people in Rhode Island affected by cancer to receive the extra support they need to beat the disease on their own terms,” said Todd W. Ellison, MSW, LICSW – Founder/Director, The MAE Foundation. “We share LIVESTRONG’s passion for inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer and look forward to working together to make a difference in the lives of local cancer survivors and their families.”


The 2014 Community Impact Project will offer $1 million in implementation awards to 39 finalists. TheLIVESTRONG Foundation is committed to supporting community organizations in their efforts to help cancer survivors face the daily challenges that come with cancer, and has replicated nine programs in 600 communities throughout the U.S. – an investment of more than $80 million.


Voting ends at 5 p.m. CST on April 11. For more information about the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project and to vote, visit For more information about The MAE Foundation, visit


About The MAE Foundation

The M.A.E. Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in the name and memory of Mary Ann Ellison who lost her battle to lung cancer at the age of 59 in 2002.  The foundation’s mission is to provide support and resources to individuals battling cancer and their loved ones. The MAE Foundation provides these services through a their local Cancer Navigation & Survivorship Center located in Providence, RI.



About the LIVESTRONG Foundation
The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. Created in 1997, the Foundation is known for providing free cancer support services and advocating for policies that improve access to care and quality of life. Known for its powerful brand – LIVESTRONG – the Foundation has become a symbol of hope and inspiration around the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has served 2.5 million people affected by the disease and raised more than $500 million to support cancer survivors. One of America’s top non-profit organizations, the Foundation has been recognized by industry leaders including Charity Navigator, the National Health Council and the Better Business Bureau for its excellent governance, high standards and transparency. For more information, visit