After local social worker Candice Vincent-Mamary passed away from cancer in 1997 at age 47, her sister Penny Cunningham, rallied family and friends, and together they created Candy’s Place – a Cancer Wellness Center in her memory. Candy’s Place is a nonprofit cancer wellness and resource center whose mission is to help the recovery and healing of cancer’s physical and emotional aspects, and most importantly, the quality of life issues before, during, and after cancer treatment.
Like many newly created nonprofits, Candy’s Place struggled to get off the ground, initially providing its services in a tiny 100 square foot room in the Kirby Health Center in Wilkes-Barre. With the demand for its services growing faster than its resources, the officers of Candy’s Place selected a board of directors to help with the physical, emotional, and social needs of those diagnosed with cancer and find a solution for the organization’s most pressing problem – the need for larger space to maintain the operation.
In 2005, Robert Mericle solved the community’s growing need for expanded cancer services by customizing and donating rent-free space in a Mericle building in Forty Fort, PA, which allowed Candy’s Place to move from a 100 square foot “box” in the Kirby Health Center into 4,231 square feet. He donated labor and materials valued at almost $250,000 and personally managed more than 3,800 hours of construction and more than 1,000 hours of subcontracted labor for the interior fit-out. The new space allowed the organization to serve more than 100 patients annually versus just the one dozen patients it served previously.
In 2011, Mr. Mericle redesigned and donated adjacent space to the Center to serve as a yoga/workout studio for patients, resulting in a total of 5,145 square feet of rent-free space. He donated all of the construction work necessary to expand the Center. The space provided the Center with positive exposure at fundraising events, such as “Spin for Life,” which were previously held off-site.
Since 1998, the Mericle family and Mericle employees have participated in the annual Rainbow Walk, the Center’s largest annual fundraiser.
Candy’s Place needs support from individuals and organizations to help it continue its mission. Volunteers are needed on many levels. Financial donations are gladly accepted.
To learn more, contact Candy’s Place board member and Mericle Vice President Jim Hilsher.