One cancer survivor wrote Gould recently to tell him his cancer was in remission and that he couldn't have done it without the ice cream.
For his efforts, the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center honored Gould this year by naming him one of the 100 people and organizations who have stood out in the fight against cancer. The annual recognition honors other everyday heroes such as Gould, as well as groundbreaking researchers, world-class doctors, celebrities and others.
Looking for a way to help
Gould began his charity work shortly after he and wife Sharon bought Treadwell's in 2000. They received an invitation to Cancer Survivor Day in Lynn and were moved by what they saw.
"It was so touching and heart-wrenching hearing from people who had lost folks, and from people struggling to survive," Gould said. "We asked the director (at the North Shore Cancer Center) what we could do to help. He said bring ice cream once a month or once a year, whenever you can."
He has been doing it ever since.
As you might expect, there are plenty of sad times, too. When some of the familiar faces are conspicuously gone for a while, he starts to worry. He has seen friends he's made at the hospital die and even delivered sundaes to patients in hospice.
"It's very sad, but when you watch them with a big smile come up to get their ice cream and it makes them feel good, it's very rewarding," he said.
The folks with the good fortune of scheduling their appointments around lunchtime this past Monday were sure happy about it. The ice cream social turned what might have been a grim trip into something much happier.
"I've been coming here for six years, and in all those years, this is probably only the third time (I'm here on sundae day)," Na-hant resident Lola Latsis said as she happily polished off a sundae in the waiting room. "For all the people who come here, this is a little ray of sunshine. It's not a pleasant experience, but this is a nice little perk."