Women of Hope: Making a difference for cancer care

Hope – for effective treatment; for the successful elimination of a tumor; for the strength to endure chemotherapy and radiation – is key for the individual dealing with cancer.

For the rest of us, though, hope doesn’t take on real meaning until it is put into action. It’s a simple matter of putting your money where your mouth is. And that’s exactly what Women of Hope, a new fundraising initiative sponsored by the St.Vincent Foundation, does.

Women of Hope grew out of St.Vincent Foundation’s Weekend to End Breast Cancer, an annual event in which participants spent a weekend participating in a two-day walk to raise money to fight women’s cancers. This year, a one-day 15-mile “Walk of Hope” event will take place on Oct. 1 for members, and shorter walks for non-member families and survivors are planned. Women (and men) who are members have pledged to give or raise at least $1,000 to support St.Vincent cancer patients, programs, and services for the fight against cancer.

In return, Women of Hope members receive a “Hope” mini-tag charm necklace, a monthly e-newsletter, a t-shirt at the Walk of Hope, and receive early notification when it comes to reserving tickets for St.Vincent Foundation special events. Most important, members will know they’re a part of a group committed to fighting cancer in the most meaningful way possible: by raising money to support programs that directly impact cancer patients and families.

Maureen Estes, a Women of Hope member who was involved in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer in prior years, calls her membership in the group “an honor.” “I am a breast cancer survivor, and the people at St.Vincent have been very generous with their doctors and nurses, and with their entire program,” she said. “I knew when I got back on my feet, I wanted to do something to give back.”

In spite of the group’s name, anyone – including men – can join Women of Hope. And while the prospect of raising $1,000 may sound daunting to some people, Nancy Frick, Director of Foundation Advancement at St.Vincent, says that most people are surprised at how easy it is to raise the funds. “Most members work together in teams,” she said. “And there are team fundraising efforts we suggest that are effective and fun, such as gift wrapping or having garage sales. But you can also solicit donations from family friends through emails with a link for contributions online through the web site at www.stvincentwomenofhope.org. Whatever you’re most comfortable with.”

For more information on Women of Hope, visit www.stvincentwomenofhope.org or call Nancy Frick at (317) 338-5081.

Related Stories