Winchester Hospital Patient Recognized as Unsung Heroine


Unsung Heroine at Winchester Hospital

Four years ago Holly Walton sat in a room receiving chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. But before her treatment was over, the Wilmington resident already started thinking of ways to give back to the community.

And on May 16, Walton was recognized as an unsung heroine by Massachusetts for her work in founding Heaps of Hope to help women with cancer. She started the organization with the help of Melinda Taranto-Garnis, an oncology social worker and employee at the hospital’s cancer center and Carl Alviti, CPA of Matrix Financial, LLC.

“While I sat in that room with all the other women going through chemo, I started thinking about those other women,” Walton said. “I had a wonderful support system, but I didn’t know if they had people encouraging them? Inspiring hope? More importantly, letting them know that they were not alone during a very difficult time.”

Since 2008, Heaps of Hope has helped hundreds of women by offering assistance with the cost of transportation to medical appointments; helping pay for medications when women have no prescription coverage or have very high co-payments for their medication; helping pay hospital bills for uncovered treatments or tests; assisting with the cost of integrative therapies which are not covered by health insurance and can be helpful treating pain, nausea, insomnia and anxiety; offering grocery gift cards to help ease the financial strain that the illness can cause; and by providing an inspirational book - There's No Place Like Hope - to women who are newly diagnosed.

“I feel incredibly honored by this award, but I never feel I've done enough,” Walton said. “We just want to let everyone know that there are people out there that need a lot of help.”

Walton will continue to raise money for her organization as she will be participating in “Be Bald, Be Brave, a nationwide fundraising effort to raise money for cancer organizations that culminates on Nov. 2 and honors cancer patients everywhere.

“I truly love giving back through Heaps of Hope,” she said. “If I could do this full-time I’d be the happiest women in the world.”

To learn more about Heaps of Hope visit their website at If you’re a patient and would like more information, contact your oncology care social worker or nurse navigator and they will email Holly.  

About Winchester Hospital

Winchester Hospital is the first community hospital in Massachusetts to earn Magnet recognition, the American Nurses Association’s highest honor for nursing excellence. As the northwest suburban Boston area’s leading provider of comprehensive health care services, the 229-bed facility provides care in general, bariatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, oncology, gastroenterology, rehabilitation, radiation oncology, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. Winchester Hospital has clinical affiliations with several nationally recognized hospitals in the region, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. To learn more, visit