Methuen NECC Student Launches Cancer Charity

Methuen's Priscilla Westaway is raising money for cancer patients across the Merrimack Valley and North Shore through her new charity. (Courtesy photograph)

Five months after donating $7,000 to Merrimack Valley cancer patients through a partnership with Lahey Clinic, Methuen’s Priscilla Westaway has doubled down on her efforts to bring financial help to residents locally.

Following October’s “Photo for a Cause” fundraiser at Northern Essex Community College, the photography student formed a charity to benefit cancer patients like her.

Westaway, who battles stage 4 breast cancer, tells WHAV her charity, “Believe Anything and Everything Is Possible,” provides a welcome distraction during her chemotherapy treatment.

“By me doing what I’m doing, it also shows people with stage 4 cancer that your life can continue on and you can to the fullest, to the best of your ability,” she said. “I’m not going to tell you I don’t have days when I feel crappy, but I move on and think ‘Tomorrow’s a better day.’”

To pay it forward, Westaway raises money through events and online fundraising to purchase gift cards for groceries and transportation. Those incidental expenses can often be a burden for cancer patients when medical copays are so high, says Westaway.

“Financially, cancer is a burden,” she said. “The medicine I take is $9,000 a month. What if I didn’t have good medical insurance?”

So far, Westaway said she has helped at least 50 families across the Merrimack Valley and North Shore. She relies on social workers and clinicians at Lahey Clinic to identify those patients who may need a helping hand.

On Tuesday, April 3, Westaway will partner with Gloucester’s Cape Ann Brewing Company at 11 Rogers St., for a night of fundraising and raffles.

She’s also hard at work planning another “Photo for a Cause” exhibit in October, a golf tournament and holiday toy drive.

For more information or to donate, visit BelieveAnything.org.