Several years ago, Clarke President Sean Clarke met former Boston Bruin Cam Neely and the two immediately hit it off. The Boston Bruins retired Neely's No. 8 jersey on Jan 12, 2004, following his difficult decision to retire in 1996, at age 31, a result of his struggle with a persistent knee injury and a degenerative hip condition. Ten years earlier, Neely's family lost their mother and father to cancer in 1987 and 1993. Following their deaths, the Neely family felt an urgency to turn the tragedy of losing their parents into something significant to help other families struggling with a cancer diagnosis. The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care was established in 1995 and has raised millions of dollars for facilities and cancer treatments at Tufts Medical Center in Boston over the past 20 years.
In 1997, The Neely House was opened as bed-and-breakfast style home away from home for cancer patients and their families. It was created to fill an important need - to help pediatric and adult cancer patients and their families while undergoing treatment. The house is an environment in which families who stay there can talk with others in similar situations while being near loved ones in a warm, home-like setting.