Celebrating Milestones - Ann's Place Turns 25

From a 1991 vision of support groups meeting in a Victorian cottage to today’s reality of a full-service, comprehensive, award winning, community-based cancer support and resource center, Ann’s Place has emerged as a vital community asset.

April 1991
Can, Inc. forms a Board of Directors and incorporates as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit.

Ann Olsen's fight to survive and help other cancer patients inspires a vision. She dies at 38 in 1987. 

Ann Olsen's fight to survive and help other cancer patients inspires a vision.
She dies at 38 in 1987. 

Mary Burke and Dr. Patricia Bragdon are Founders.  Dr. Robert Cooper of Danbury Internal Medicine Associates, Danbury Counseling Center and The Ann Olsen Endowment (AOE) are early benefactors.  Fifty patients are served in the first year.

1995

Our name is updated to Ann’s Place, The Home of I Can to reflect the shared vision of I Can Founders and AOE Founder Ron Olsen of a welcoming haven for cancer patients.

Proceeds of the 6 year-old annual Ann Olsen Greater Danbury Golf Classic will now be directed to that goal. The agency moves into Danbury’s Peacock Alley on North Street.  Volunteers create the Ladies Golf Classic at Richter Park the following year

Founders Dr. Pat Bragdon & Mary Burke at 1995 Winter Wonderland Tour of Homes

Founders Dr. Pat Bragdon & Mary Burke at 1995 Winter Wonderland Tour of Homes

1997

Benefactor Nancy Dolan facilitates the gifts of a half-acre land parcel from New Milford Bank & Trust and the City of Danbury. Plans for a permanent home begin.  Within a few years, agency growth outstrips the size of the proposed site.  The search continues.

1998 - 2001

Services grow with the addition of a men’s prostate cancer group, a children’s program, and wellness services. I Can and AOE merge into one in 2000, as client count grows from 200 to 340 served per month.  Space becomes a critical issue as the Hope in Action Capital Campaign under Chair David Nurnberger is launched in 2001.

 2003

Ann’s Place relocates to larger Newtown Road offices.  The client count rises to 450.  Festival of Trees is created to help fund the no fee support groups and counseling.  

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Eleven years of fundraising and 5 years of donated construction yields a facility uniquely tailored to serve the needs of the cancer community. Touring our home and grounds reveals the special spirit created by legions of volunteers, compassionate professionals, generous donors and vibrant survivors.

 2004

A stunning donation of 4 acres on Saw Mill Road from the Woodlands II Group (Tony Lucera, Richard Kral & Glenn Tatangelo) re-starts site plans.  DCA Architects donate a building plan to anticipate future growth.

2006

The Robert Santore library is a source of information and inspiration.

The Robert Santore library is a source of information and inspiration.

Ann’s Place moves into large donated space owned by Dow Chemical. It changes hands and the Matrix Realty Group becomes our generous benefactor.   Our services expand.

The Building Committee under General Chair and Board Chair Paul Dinto kicks off site preparation.  An unprecedented coalition of contractors and union leaders in the construction trades industry steps up to donate materials, labor and services.

The Phyllis & Charlie Speidel Daffodil section of the Marian & Hans Kretsch Gardens offers a respite from the concerns of cancer.

The Phyllis & Charlie Speidel Daffodil section of the Marian & Hans Kretsch Gardens offers a respite from the concerns of cancer.

2008

Just as we go under roof, the economy tanks.  Local companies & volunteers fill gaps and keep the dream alive in the downturn as the donor trades are all hit.   

2011

Thanks to bi-partisan efforts, the State awards Ann’s Place a grant to complete sewer installation.  This special home is completed in December 2011.  Services open at 80 Saw Mill Road in January 2012.

Today - Ann’s Place at 25

The full array of no-fee support and educational services only made possible by donors and offered by a professional oncology social work, counseling and wellness staff is unmatched in the region.  Ann’s Place serves over 1,000 in Connecticut and lower Hudson Valley.

Ann’s Place collaborates with the Western CT Health Network, tri-state cancer facilities, Regional Hospice, American Cancer Society, the Multicultural Center, schools and universities, service clubs and many community and corporate partners.     

Thousands of cancer survivors and their loved ones credit Ann’s Place with giving them a life-enriching experience in their darkest hours over the last quarter century.

To fight cancer with only medical means is rarely enough. The social, educational, and psychological support Ann's Place offers allows one to re-gain a sense of control, reflection and hopefulness.