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Harvest of Hope benefit supports UPMC McKeesport cancer center

| Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 4:21 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
The late Jodie Matta-Dillinger's parents George and Florence Matta pose with her brothers and their wives. At left are Gary and Rona Matta, and at right are George and Cathy Matta.

Family and friends of the late Jodie Matta-Dillinger gathered at Rivers Casino on Saturday night for the fifth annual Harvest of Hope to support the cancer resource center that bears her name.

The Jodie Matta-Dillinger Cancer Resource Center at UPMC McKeesport provides wigs, dignity robes and dietary counseling to cancer patients.

Matta-Dillinger was diagnosed with an inoperable Stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor in 2000. She died on Aug. 22, 2001.

Her vision was to repay the generosity of those who supported her.

Her family partnered with the hospital and continues to raise funds.

“This has been so successful for the last five years,” said Logan Dillinger, Matta-Dillinger's daughter. “Every person here, their contributions are helping others who need cancer support services within the McKeesport hospital system.”

Each year, the Jodie Matta-Dillinger Cancer Resource Center names Cancer Care Champions, who receive awards during the Harvest of Hope. This year's awardees are Nora Evans, unit director of UPMC McKeesport's Med/Surg Oncology department; and Michael McAndrew, director of the Black Box Corp. communication firm.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.