A Helping Hand for Tiffanie

A Helping Hand for Tiffanie

BC reaches out to ailing daughter of Facilities Services employees

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Members of the Boston College community have opened their hearts - and their checkbooks - to two University employees whose 9-year-old daughter is suffering from brain cancer.

Tiffanie Aleman and her mother, Anabela Aleman, a BC custodian. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
The campus-wide support for Tiffanie Aleman has included a benefit dance that raised $5,100 to offset her medical expenses and donations of goods, services and a computer that will be used by the youngster during her recovery.

Tiffanie is the daughter of Facilities Services Landscaper John McGovern and Custodian Anabela Aleman. She is the granddaughter of Alumni House Custodian Margarett "Maria" Batista.

Since she was discharged from Children's Hospital in August after recovering from surgery, Tiffanie has been receiving rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments along with physical and occupational therapy, according to McGovern. Her next radiation treatments will begin on Dec. 19, he said.
"She's a great kid and she really has a big heart," McGovern said. "She prays to God every night to get this out of her. She tells me, 'I know I am going to be all right.' Someday, she is going to be so strong that nothing will affect her after all that she has been through."

McGovern said offers of moral and spiritual support as well as gifts and monetary donations have been sent to Tiffanie from across the University.

"There are still some wonderful people in this world, and I just want to thank every one of them," he said. "Everyone has been so supportive of her and we are very, very grateful."

McGovern said that one of the first to offer assistance was Rev. Walter Conlan Jr., SJ, an internal consultant for employee development in the Human Resources division. Fr. Conlan said a Mass for family members in the Children's Hospital waiting room as they gathered during Tiffanie's July 3 surgery, two days after the cancer had been detected.

Four of McGovern's Facilities Services co-workers, Painter Fred Hinckley, Lead Custodian Paul MacQuarrie, Custodian Richard Baldaro and Landscape Worker Robert Scanlon, helped organize a benefit dinner-dance on Nov. 17 at the Elks Hall in Brighton, proceeds from which will help meet Tiffanie's medical expenses.

"What a relief it is to know that it is going to be there for us when we need it," McGovern said of the $5,100 raised at the event.

The Boston College Alumni Association made an $850 gift to purchase a home computer for Tiffanie, enabling her to keep up with her third-grade schoolwork at St. Columbkille's School in Brighton.

"We are reminded again and again that charity begins at home," said Alumni Association Executive Director Grace Cotter Regan, "and I don't know how much closer this could be."

Lynch School of Education Assistant Dean for Students and Outreach John E. Cawthorne has been working with McGovern to find an undergraduate tutor who will assist Tiffanie as she resumes school on a part-time basis.
McGovern said merchandise contributions from the Boston College Bookstore and from individual employees, such as certificates for local toy stores and shopping malls, were donated as raffle prizes and direct gifts to Tiffanie.

Boston College's athletic teams also have offered support. Hockey Coach Jerry York contributed a stick autographed by members of last season's NCAA championship team. The football squad donated an autographed ball and members of the women's basketball team personally delivered an autographed poster to Tiffanie's home. The women's hoop team also had Tiffanie as their special guest at the BC-Tennessee game on Dec. 5.

"I just want everybody to know how much all of this is appreciated," McGovern said. "I wish I could send out thank-you notes to every single person who has been there for us."


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