WEST WYOMING — Only one month after being appointed to fill a vacant seat on borough council, Ralph Confletti, 59, received the news that he had pancreatic cancer.
As the highest vote-getter in the May primary election, Confletti was appointed in June to replace Gil Atherholt, who resigned in May. “He impressed people in town with his will to pitch in and his community spirit,” said council president Eileen Cipriani. “No sooner did we put him on in June, he started having pains in his stomach.”
Members of the community gathered at the West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 on Saturday for a fundraiser called “Rallyin’ 4 Ralph” — an event intended to help Confletti with mounting medical, hotel and transportation costs. The event featured live entertainment, raffles and a buffet.
“He started losing weight within the last two months,” said his brother Doug, adding that Ralph is undergoing an aggressive, six-week treatment plan in Philadelphia. “He was going once a week for three weeks but now he has to go six days a week for six weeks while he gets a combination of chemo and radiation,” he said.
Ralph Confletti is on medical leave from his maintenance position at Core-Pak, Doug added.
Supporters aim to alleviate Confletti’s immediate financial concerns, allowing him to focus on regaining his health.
“We have all seen the effects that cancer can have on anyone suffering from the disease, including family members,” said Cipriani. “Confletti is a United States veteran, and a genuine friend to many. Our hope is to lessen the financial burden and to allow the family to concentrate on fighting this battle.”
Ralph’s daughter, Yvonne Tagnini, recalled how her father ran a Christmas charity for years, collecting toys for disabled children, referring to him as her “glue.” Her father is very grateful for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time, Tagnini said.
“Ralph was always active in the community, back to his days helping out with the Little League,” said longtime friend Jimmy Dennis. “He is very kind-hearted and would do anything for anybody, that is why this event is such a big success.”
Archie Eshelman, a friend and one of the fundraising event’s organizers, echoed Dennis’ sentiments: “I have known Ralph my whole life. He is a great guy.”
Cipriani said she and other council members are looking forward to working with Confletti again soon. “The outpouring of support for the fundraiser is a testament to how well-respected and loved Ralph is by his family, friends, coworkers and the entire community.”