Feeney, Barrows present funds to cancer care foundation

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State Sen. Paul Feeney (D-Norton) and State Rep. Fred Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield) present Joe and Jen Andruzzi of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation with a $50,000 check in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Staff Photo/Adam Bass
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By Adam Bass-abass@northstarreporter.com

When Paul Feeney’s (D-Foxborough)friend began his treatment for colon cancer, he reached out to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation to hear their story of how they went through their own period of care .

With the foundation seeing an increase in applicants and a decrease in resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, Feeney believed it was time to return the favor and give back to the organization.

The senator and State Rep. Fred Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield) presented the organization with a check on Sept. 28 for $50,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. This money will be allocated to programs and resources that emotionally and financially help individuals undergoing cancer treatment.

Rep. Adam Scanlon, (D-North Attleborough) was not able to attend the event but was praised by both Feeney and Barrows as all three worked together to acquire the funds. Scanlon was represented by his legislative aide, Mason Lord.

“Because of the pandemic, you had trouble raising money, and the need did not go away,” Feeney said of the foundation’s operations. “So, I told representative Barrows, I think we can do something for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, and he said let’s do it. So, we took the shot.”

The Massachusetts ARPA spending bill was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on Dec. 13, 2021. It provides $4 billion of relief and investment to towns and cities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofit organizations, such as the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, are eligible for relief. Feeney said securing this money was a priority, as those who worked at the foundation were highly qualified and helped those who needed support.

“We can look at who is doing the work every single day, and put the money in their hands because we know it’s going to the right people,” he said. “People don’t realize how difficult it can be.”

At the event, Feeney and Barrows met with the nonprofit’s founders, former New England Patriot and NFL offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen. Both thanked them for their efforts and were given a tour of the building.

Andruzzi, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma in 2007, created the foundation in 2008. He is now cancer-free and still running the organization today.

He commented that though Feeney and Barrows are from two different political parties, they were able to find common ground in helping their community.

“Nobody likes to talk about politics these days,” Andruzzi said. “But no matter what side you’re on, cancer doesn’t choose politics, cancer affects everybody.”