Interview with Richard Ballo
Published in the Fall/Winter 2022 Avow Newsletter
By Alyssa Morlacci
A local author and community group are coming together to support Avow.
An eight-times published author and a football fan club for a team 1,200 miles away outwardly have little in common. But, when talking about community philanthropy, these seemingly dissimilar parties share a mission of helping others through their support of Avow.
In Naples, Avow specializes in hospice care with a focus on comfort and support for terminally ill patients and their families. The respected level of care is the reason so many community members feel compelled to support Avow’s various programs.
In 1993, when Richard Ballo was 39 years old, he lost his wife, Lisa, to cancer after eight years of marriage. It was a pain he couldn’t have prepared to endure, but as the sole parent to two children, ages 5 and 6, he didn’t have much time to cope.
Ballo compartmentalized his grief into a journal. “I had it in me and I needed to get it out of me, and journaling was one way to do it, and that became the first book,” says the author who has published eight non-fiction books, children’s books and journals that help his readers deal with loss.
His latest title, Grief-50 Questions and Answers, discusses all of the curiosities people have surrounding bereavement. A few examples Ballo says the book includes are: “How do we part with our passed loved ones? How do photographs affect us? What about being overwhelmed? Grief attacks?”
Ballo served on Avow’s board of directors for nine years, and he continues to give back to the organization in various ways. “I’m just grateful to them for helping me and my children in that first year after my wife passed away; that really helped us get on a better course for life,” he says of Avow’s role in his own healing.