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A Circle of Care

A non-profit helps children and their families face cancer



At the suggestion of their pediatricians, Wilton residents Liz Salguero and Dawn Ladenheim both brought their young sons to Dr. Joseph McNamara’s office in Guilford. Each drove there thinking she was seeing a blood specialist. It wasn’t until they spotted a handmade quilt hanging on the wall of his examining room that they started to worry their children might be seriously ill. 
 
“The quilt talked about cancer,” says Salguero, whose toddler had been suffering from recurring fevers. “I remember feeling, ‘Wow this is pretty heavy stuff.’” She saw a square made by her cousin’s son, who had been diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer as a child. “That’s when I thought, ‘We are really in the wrong place.’” It turns out, Salguero, her husband Jeff, and their son Carlos were exactly where they needed to be. A spinal tap and bone marrow aspiration revealed Carlos, then two, had cancer. “I had to call somebody and say, ‘Can you get my other kids at the bus stop? Because I’m not coming home,’” Salguero explains. 
 
Ladenheim had been in the same examining room two years earlier, with ten-year-old son, Daniel. Dr. McNamara’s diagnosis was the same for both boys: Leukemia. “I had to call my husband,” Ladenheim says. “That was so hard.” 
 
Every year, between 200 and 250 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer, according to Dr. McNamara. Leukemia is the most common form of pediatric cancer, and also the most curable. Dr. McNamara maintained a private practice in Guilford from 1989 to 2008 before turning his office into a satellite of Yale New Haven Hospital. Connecticut pediatricians have sent him countless children, but diagnosing them never gets easier. “I try to do it as gently as possible,” he says. Unlike adult patients, children are sent straight to the hospital from his examining room. Says Salguero, “Their cells are reproducing at a very fast rate. It’s important to stop the growth of the cancer cells.”
 
“The trip to the hospital is terrifying,” explains Salguero. The stressful experience inspired her and Ladenheim, who met at a cancer support group, to launch Circle of Care to help Connecticut families dealing with pediatric cancer. They started the non-profit in 2003 with a simple concept: providing care packages to children and their families when they arrive at the hospital. Salguero and Ladenheim filled the bags with all the things they wish they had that day—a pad of paper and pen to write down medical information, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a list of informational resources, and a toy to distract the patient. “We’re not trained professionally,” Ladenheim says. “But we bring hope and comfort.”
 
Circle of Care expanded rapidly, and now runs seven programs at three cancer facilities in Connecticut. The nonprofit also donates computers and iPads to children’s cancer wards, provides dream bedroom makeovers for several patients, and fulfills Christmas wishes. Circle of Care also offers financial assistance. “We distributed $75,000 in assistance last year,” Salguero says. The organization runs completely through volunteer efforts, under the guidance of an 18-member board of directors. Private donations, grants, and fundraisers keep it going. 
 
Today, Salguero’s son Carlos is a seventh grader at Middlebrook. He said he barely remembers having cancer. Ladenheim’s son Daniel is 22, and recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. McNamara still sees children at his office in Guilford. But the cancer quilt has been packed away.
 

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January 2019

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

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Cost: Free

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
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Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
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Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, with Santa visiting on December 8! Decorated for the...

Cost: Members free, Non-member adults $10/ kids $5.

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, with Santa visiting on December 8! Decorated for the...

Cost: Members free, Non-member adults $10/ kids $5.

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

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The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, with Santa visiting on December 8! Decorated for the...

Cost: Members free, Non-member adults $10/ kids $5.

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »

More information

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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We invite you to join us at Dojo Fairfield on Saturday January 19, 2019 when we host the founder/CEO of C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense, Chris Sutton, for a one-day self-defense/ASRP (Active Shooter...

Cost: $129.00

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Sponsor: DOJO FAIRFIELD
Telephone: 203.319.9989
Contact Name: Karina Gramesty
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Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, with Santa visiting on December 8! Decorated for the...

Cost: Members free, Non-member adults $10/ kids $5.

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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