Sully2.jpgJayne and John Sully outside the NOAH Shelter last month where they delivered 75 purses full of small items for homeless women staying in HAC shelters.

There are moments in life that can change a person’s perspective. Being diagnosed with cancer is one. That happened to Jayne Sully this past July when doctors discovered she had throat cancer. A month later, the 49-year-old South Orleans resident started treatment.

“It gave her a purpose,” her husband John Sully said last month in the parking lot of HAC’s NOAH Shelter.

That purpose was to “do something for somebody” in need, John said. So Jayne reached out to friends and family in mid-November asking them to donate purses for women living in shelter.

She collected 150, half of which went to those at NOAH, Angel House, Carriage House and The Village at Cataumet. The remainder was donated to the Salvation Army.

Inside each purse were small items – lip balm, toothpaste, socks, mittens, baby powder and candy – collected by the Sullys, utilizing Facebook to encourage charity in their social network. The couple, who formerly owned The Yardarm in Orleans, also received $700 that was used to purchase gift cards to McDonald’s, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts that were also placed inside the purses.

Donations came from as far away as Texas, Jayne said. The pair also received a contribution from the front desk staff at the Renaissance Boston Patriot Place Hotel in Foxboro where they stay when attending New England Patriots games.

After unloading the last of the purses from their car and bringing them into NOAH, the Sullys were thanked by the shelter’s employment specialist Carolann Gillard. “This lets them know somebody cared enough to put these together and bring them here,” Gillard told the couple. “It means so much to them and we so appreciate it.”

For Jayne, who was told a few days later her cancer was in remission, the fundraiser represented a purpose fulfilled. “I had a pretty good health scare myself. I had cancer,” she said. “So I wanted to give something back and I thought giving back to the homeless was the best way to go… After I was diagnosed it put the meaning of Christmas in a whole new light for me.”