New volunteer steps in as TBBCF liaison
College student is link between researchers and scientific advisory board
By KATHLEEN EDGECOMB
Gabby Gualtieri was 10 or 11 when she first became involved with the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation. She remembers handing out drinks, snacks and candy with her family to participants during the annual Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut fundraiser.
“The marathon was my favorite day of the year when I was younger,” said the now 21-year-old, who is the new assistant to the non-profit’s Scientific Advisory Board.
In the volunteer position, Gualtieri will work with the advisory board as it assesses applications from around the country from doctors and scientists applying for TBBCF’s research grants. The annual grants are awarded to up-and-coming researchers who are studying, and trying to find a cure, for breast cancer. She is the primary contact for public relations and communications activities throughout the grant process, acting as a liaison between the doctors on the advisory board and those applying for the grants.
Gualtieri has been volunteering with TBBCF since middle school along with her mother, father and brother. Her mother Stacey Gualtieri is the founding treasurer of TBBCF. She has also walked two half-marathons and one full marathon, volunteers at Connecticut Hospice in Branford, where she visits with patients, and is a certified nurse’s aide.
She takes over the duties once held by Sandy Maniscalco, co-founder of TBBCF. After a brief training period, Maniscalco said Gualtieri was ready to go.
“She took ownership of the new responsibilities and ran with it,” said Maniscalco. “She’s amazing. She’s absolutely amazing.”
She is already fully engaged, having connected with the 2019 grant recipients, institution administrations and the institutions’ development and outreach staff, Maniscalco said. This year TBBCF will be awarding four, $100,000 grants for research.
Gualtieri is a 2015 graduate of Norwich Free Academy where she ran cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track. She is a senior at Quinnipiac University where she is majoring in biomedical science with minors in chemistry and psychology. After graduation, she said she will take two years off from school and work as a research technician. She also wants to go to Haiti to do volunteer work. Her plan is to then apply to medical school. Although she has always wanted to be a dermatologist, after volunteering with TBBCF she says she now wants to do cancer research.
“I love the cause,” she said. “I think it’s great that all the donations go to research.”
She has also been sharing her enthusiasm about TBBCF with others.
“I let everyone know about it,” she said of the New London-based organization that dedicates 100 percent of its gross fundraising dollars to cancer research. To date TBBCF has awarded more than $4 million in research grants. “I talk about it all the time with my friends.”
She also has some advice for her peers who are looking for inspiration: Get involved with an organization you care about.