What goes around comes around

Co-founder of TBBCF wins pearls, then gives back


Sandy Maniscalco, cofounder of the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation, will do anything to support the organization. She has held leadership roles, established an intern program, completed walking marathons and routinely donates and supports anyone holding a fundraiser on behalf of TBBCF.

So, it was no surprise when she donated $100 to TBBCF for four chances to win a string of pink pearls and matching stud earrings in a raffle hosted by Susette Tibus at Majestic Jewelers in Mystic. Susette donated the jewelry valued at over $1,600 and held a 62-hour raffle in September, announcing it on Facebook Live. Sixty-two hours later, after raising $9,095, Susette was back on Facebook Live, pulling the winner’s name.

There were a lot of gasps and smiles when Maniscalco’s name was chosen from among 357 tickets. Everyone agreed, no one has done more than Maniscalco for the 15-year-old organization that has awarded nearly $5 million in grants to breast cancer researchers. And no one deserved the prize more than her.

But then Maniscalco did something that took everyone by surprise. She gave the prize back so someone else could win it. After digesting the give-back, they realized it was “typical Sandy” to think of others first. Watch live video drawing

“Sandy doesn’t want to be the center of attention. She wants to make sure other people shine,” said Amy Caster, director of development and outreach, who pulled Maniscalco’s winning ticket. “She always puts everyone in front of herself.”

Maniscalco had been watching the Facebook live broadcast and saw her name announced. Then the call came almost immediately telling her she had won. She was overwhelmed and burst out crying.

Sandy with her husband, Phil. She gave up pearls. We gave her cake!
Sandy with her husband, Phil. She gave up pearls. We gave her cake!

“My emotions were rising and rising, and I could hear the emotion from everyone over the phone,” she said later. She thought about the early days of the foundation and all the plans that were put in place with her friend Norma Logan, the other co-founder. TBBCF was established in 2006, the same year Logan died of breast cancer.

“It took me back to the place where we got started. And I thought of how amazing all the volunteers are, and that this is such a great organization,” she said. “I thought, I can’t take this prize. The core of this organization is its volunteers. It was the right thing to do to give it back so one of the supporters or walkers or other volunteers could have a chance.” Watch video

“I was over-the-moon excited for Sandy when she won,” Caster said. “There isn’t anyone more deserving than her.”

But no one was really surprised when Maniscalco re-gifted the necklace and earrings, she said.

“Knowing Sandy, this is a typical Sandy thing to do. This is an organization she loves,” said Tibus. “There’s so much uncertainty, so much angst, so much controversy in the world today, this is what we should be seeing. Just a little bit of kindness.”

The new winner was Pat Connor of Ohio, who donated to her cousin, Amanda Tagg, who is raising money for the 2020 Virtual Miles to Cure Breast Cancer.

“I love PINK and I LOVE pearls!” Connor wrote in an email after receiving the pearls in the mail. “So, thanks to Sandy’s selflessness, I am able to enjoy them both. I am wearing them at the moment. I have had a motto since the mid-1980s – ‘Don’t just get dressed, get decorated!’”

Connor added that it’s been a rough few month for her. In addition to dealing with the pandemic like everyone else, she lost her 87-year-old mother in December and her 92-year-old father in June.

“It’s been a wonderful boost to receive this beautiful jewelry,” she said.


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