It was a beautiful day in Gaspee Point on Saturday as approximately 150 people arrived throughout the afternoon and evening to the home of Warwick resident Caroline Caprio.
They helped Caprio celebrate her sixth-year Crain-o-versary. She survived an inoperable brain tumor, and she has begun the nonprofit Caroline Caprio Scholarship Fund. She started that project along with her Dream Team, who also joined in the weekend’s celebration.
The organization’s goal is to provide monetary and spiritual support to brain tumor patients and the dedicated medical students who are specializing in this field. It’s an organization with which Rhode Islanders are soon to become very familiar.
“I’m confident that most people in our state are not aware of the high percentage of people in Rhode Island impacted by brain tumors,” Caprio said. “It will be through this awareness that we will be afforded the opportunity to assist as many people as possible.”
The Scholarship Fund is comprised of a group that comes from myriad backgrounds, such as a registered nurse, an accountant, two business owners and a psychologist. They are all people whom the disease has impacted, whether personally or through a close family member.
Approximately 200 people a year in Rhode Island are diagnosed with a brain tumor. In comparison with the population of 1.1 million it may seem like a small figure, which is why awareness around the disease is not as common as other cancers.
During the Crain-o-versary, friends were heard discussing how remarkable Caprio is as she faced a huge challenge and earned her victory over brain cancer. They see her as a warrior and survivor, but most importantly as a caring person who took her challenge to help others impacted with similar life changes.
“What do you do six years after brain surgery?” asked Caprio. “You throw a party for 150 of your closest family and friends and show others there is light at the end of the tunnel. Life doesn’t always end after a brain tumor diagnosis. Sometimes it is just beginning. Thank you all who came to help me celebrate and for being a part of my journey.”
She added: “We have and continue to grow our support network which includes RNs, psychiatrists, to something as simple as helping with rides to the doctors, or pet walkers to help with your pets while you are concentrating on getting better.”
Scholarships for medical students aspiring to help come up with a cure for this disease are awarded. It is not limited to surgeons – the fund will extend that help to nurses, as well as research and development professionals.
“My journey with Caroline has been such a walk of blind faith and our life has never been the same since this journey of faith started,” said Jayne Oliver, who spiritually guided Caprio through her journey and is also founder of the Caroline Caprio Scholarship Fund. “Because of Caroline's strength and courage and commitment and strong faith I wanted to join her in this path of becoming a strong voice for those who may only have a whisper of hope left.”
Some of the funding will be for Uber rides to treatments while folks are focusing on their recovery, along with groceries and assistance with co-pays. There is also non-monetary support such as counseling.
All funding comes from events that will incorporate fun and positive activities with messaging. There is neither paid staff nor a compensated board of directors.
Current members of the Board of Directors, referred to as the Dream Team, include Jayne Classey Oliver (founder/spiritual guidance), Caroline Caprio (president), Rusty Carter (vice president), Tina Medeiros (executive director), Linda Morro (treasurer), Carmela Goins (secretary), Janet Robinson (marketing chair), Tommy Sacco (fundraising chair), Renee Sevigny (social media), Andrea Carneiro (social media) and Sandi Halo (student chair).
If you would like to learn more about the cause and supporting the Caroline Caprio Scholarship Fund, emails CCaprio212@gmail.com.