PITTSFIELD -- At supper time Saturday, more than 400 people in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza were experiencing a real slice of Pittsfield life.
It was the third annual Slice of Life Pizza Competition to benefit Moments House, a nonprofit geared towards helping families with all the non-medical impacts of a cancer diagnosis, and a place where those affected by cancer can help themselves and each other.
Alice Trumbull, co-founder of Moments House, said this year's event was the biggest yet.
From the 6 p.m. start time, it was apparent that the pizza competition is gaining in popularity. A dozen pizza restaurants were represented, each armed with 18 pizza pies.
The hungry crowd devoured those 216 pizzas in less than an hour.
Trumbull co-founded Moments House with her daughter Danielle, after a close friend, Linda Palivoda, who had lived with cancer for 11 years, passed away in December 2010.
"I think we wanted to build a community so when somebody gets a [cancer] diagnosis, they will know there is somebody out there who understands," Trumbull said. "Once they leave the hospital or doctor's office for help with the medical end, there are so many other emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis -- it can affect their jobs and families -- that they still need help with."
Moments House is also a place where cancer survivors can connect with those going through the experience for the first time.
Moments House has
"People forget about the other stuff, like how to help people cope with a cancer diagnosis -- the psychological aspects," said Patrick Muraca, president and CEO of Nuclea Biotechnologies and president of the board for Moments House. "Now they have a place to go where they will be surrounded by others like them, so hopefully they won't feel like just another cancer statistic."
Meanwhile, vast quantities of pizza were being gobbled down by people filling the 200 seats, and the other 200 or more that were eating while standing in groups all around the ballroom.
"We wanted to support and good cause and eat some pizza," noted Earl Persip III, as he stood with three friends pounding down several slices. "And it's easier to compare pizza when they're side by side."
The consensus of Persip's group was that Teddy's Pizza, from East Street in Pittsfield, was the best.
"I like the crust -- it's always good," said Persip's friend Eric Tyer, who wasn't alone in his pizza review.
After all the votes were counted, Teddy's Pizza won in the best pizza column for the third year running.
According to co-owner of Teddy's, Wil Bilis, the 40-year pizzeria is proud to be involved with Moments House's primary fundraiser of the year.
"It's a great fundraiser and a great organization," he said. "Just look at how many people they brought together tonight."
In other categories, the Coyote Den won for most unique pizza, Papa Joe's won for best crust, and Papa Gino's won for best sauce.
Last year, the pizza competition generated $10,00 for Moments House, Trumbull said.
"This year, we're hoping to beat that," she added.
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