Hospital Educator and Academic Liaison Association


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2017 APHOES Bridge Award


Anthony Gallonio
National GRACE Foundation
 
2017 Bridge Award Recipient Anthony Gallonio

 

When his daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with a sacrococcygeal teratoma tumor just days after her first birthday, Anthony Gallonio’s life stopped as he and his wife Michelle dedicated every moment to making sure Grace received the medical treatment she needed.  The tumor was attached to Grace’s spinal cord and pelvic organs, and she required emergency surgery for an intestinal obstruction.  Following a month of a medically induced coma, Grace received chemotherapy, additional surgery to resect the tumor, and a very lengthy hospitalization, with her parents by her side.

Caught up in the stress of his daughter’s illness, and the time-distortion of life in the hospital, one night Anthony arrived home to find there was no power in the house.  He realized they hadn’t paid the electric bill in months. He was experiencing first- hand how difficult it is to keep your regular life organized while dealing with a family crisis. 

This made him wonder how any parent or teen dealing with cancer can remember and organize all the details necessary to apply to college while fighting cancer.  Why did he wonder that?  Because Anthony had a 20 year career in college admissions and financial aid.  So even while Grace was still being treated, Anthony was crafting a plan to give back and pay it forward, in appreciation for all those who had helped his family through their toughest challenge.

After some research, Anthony discovered that there are many organizations that offer scholarships to students affected by cancer, but none that help to guide or advocate for these students through the admissions process. Thus, in 2011 The National Grace Foundation was born.

The National Grace Foundation provides free college admission and financial aid counseling to pediatric cancer survivors.  As the parent of a survivor, Anthony understands the financial, emotional, and neuro-cognitive challenges that these patients and their families face.  He utilizes his skills and expertise to help patients identify appropriate college programs, address gaps in school attendance and learning deficits during the application process, and assists families in maximizing the financial aid and scholarship monies available to them.  To date, he has worked with more than 600 families from all over the country and garnered over $650,000 in financial aid and scholarships. 

The National GRACE Foundation has forged relationships with hospitals and cancer centers across the country to spread the word about the free services that they offer.  Anthony was instrumental in assisting the School Liaison Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in developing their College Night event, and was a featured speaker at the Surviving the Search College Workshop presented by Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.  Stating that it is his goal to establish a College Awareness Program at hospitals in every state, Anthony has helped other APHOES member institutions develop college events, and in spear-heading the development of a regional, multi-institutional college event on the west coast. 

Additionally, Anthony and Michelle have established successful fundraising events to help offset the costs of speaking engagements, and to fund a GRACE America scholarship.  In doing so, they have established strong working relationships with local businesses, who sponsor a very popular and successful annual bike race and summer beach party. 


APHOES is pleased to present Anthony Gallonio of 

the National GRACE Foundation with this year’s Bridge Award.

Multiple Disciplines, One Mission

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