Philly Proud: Delaware County man helping others going through medical challenges

SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- We are Philly Proud of a local businessman who has dipped into his own resources to help people cope with their medical and personal challenges.

TJ Colaiezzi, of Springfield, Delaware County, has worked in many industries, from fitness to firefighting, to opening his own successful company in 2018-- always looking to give back where he can.

"A foundation that we've worked with the last year or two is the HEADStrong Foundation," he said.

That's where he met Cheryl Colleluori. Sadly, Colleluori's son Nick, passed away from cancer while he was in college. The tragedy inspired her to begin that non-profit, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by cancer.

"When they were leaving the hospital one night, they saw another kid's father who was getting treatment about to sleep in his car that night. He had nowhere to stay, but he had to come to Philadelphia for life-saving treatment. It led them to start this whole mission to help other families," he said.

The HEADStrong Foundation opened a house in Swarthmore called Nick's House. It's a place for patients and families going through cancer treatment to stay for free, for as long as they need. Since the pandemic though, fundraising has been difficult, and they've had trouble funding the bills for the house.

"I'm a big believer in that businesses, I should try to give back," he said.

Give back he did. Last week, Colaiezzi surprised Colleluori and the HEADStrong Foundation with a $5,000 check, so they can keep Nick's House running.

"Cancer didn't get canceled because of COVID, people are still getting cancer, and they're still suffering from it. There's people out there who could still use our help," he said. "We're by no means a billion dollar company, but we have enough that we can make a donation, and if that will encourage others to be able to do that, I just think it'll be a great thing to help people out."
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.