, October 26, 2017 | More Post by

Fine jewelry company ALOR has been a supporter of H4TG for several years. Here, they share why the company is Here for the Girls:

The younger generation is our future, we at ALOR see importance in that. Here for the Girls take young women under their wing to give support to those affected by breast cancer. Can you imagine being in your twenties and finding out you have this disease? No, neither can we. Being young and hearing the word cancer would scare anyone. It can be hard or even intimidating to reach out to others to express what you may be going through. Women can receive the help they need through this organization, which is why we wanted to be a part of it.

Here for the Girls, in our eyes, is like an extended family. Yes, these young women with breast cancer have families of their own but it is great to have outsiders who understand as well. To have this resource to reach out to others with breast cancer can be easier than a talking to an immediate family member. Having someone there for you who understands what you are going through gives you a feeling of comfort. With the combination of family and Here for the Girls, you have an abundance of support and love.

We at ALOR want young women to not feel alone when it comes to the dark side of breast cancer. Being young and experiencing life on its own is scary, but throwing in this type of curve ball is devastating. We want the curveball to feel like an obstacle that you can come out of on top. Here for the Girls showed us the light and their overall mission to help these young women in more ways than imaginable is why we chose to become a partner.

, September 14, 2017 | More Post by

Melissa Weaver and the Good Health Fairy (a.k.a. H4TG Co-Founder Rene Bowditch) at the Pink Carpet Gala 2017.

Melissa Weaver, a current volunteer and Boober! who was also a volunteer group facilitator for Beyond Boobs!, shares why she’s Here for the Girls:

I was broken, battered, and bald, and that’s when the my love affair with Beyond Boobs! (Here for the Girls) began. I had just received my second dose of “the red devil” when I attended my first BB! retreat. It was at this magical place that I learned, for the very first time, that I was no longer alone. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing support system, but as any breast cancer survivor knows, until we have walked the road we cannot fully understand the terrain. I do not know if it was the food, new friends, or fantastic weather, but I knew that I was finally home.

The concept of time takes on a very different meaning after cancer. The desire to go one more year without receiving a visit from the stalker and the need to have the beautiful moments of life frozen forever happens simultaneously. Through this uncertain journey, this amazing organization has been a constant presence and source of unwavering support. These women truly understand the special challenges faced by individuals receiving a cancer diagnosis. We have traded conversations about shopping for shoes for conversations about selecting the best breast surgeon. Instead of chats about the latest hair style, we are discussing the latest wig options. Don’t be fooled though, we laugh, we cry… and we sometimes do talk about shoes.

The truth is we are forever changed and will forever be tied to one another. When you meet another cancer “thriver” you instantly feel a connection that is deep and life changing. Beyond Boobs! was a lifeline at a time when I was drowning in the idea of an uncertain future. It was through this organization that I found a purpose, passion, and place in this ever changing landscape.

-Melissa

, September 04, 2017 | More Post by

Jeff Morrill is H4TG Co-Founder Mary Beth Gibson’s brother. Here he shares why he’s Here for the Girls:

Schopenhauer said that talent can hit a target no one else can hit, but genius hits a target no one else can see.  Mary Beth Gibson, co-founder and executive director of Here for the Girls, is the latter.  And I would know, because she’s my sister, and I’ve been observing her successes for a lifetime.

After surviving cancer herself, Mary discovered the enormous needs of a population of young women reckoning with breast cancer, and she decided to do something (actually a lot) about it.  With the focus, tenacity, and ambition of a Silicon Valley start-up, she and her co-founder, Rene Bowditch, started from scratch and created an organization that would be there for the girls.  But ultimately it’s not about Mary—because her vision and effort have inspired a legion of women and men to join in the mission.  Collectively, they do so much for so many people…delivering love and services for people navigating terrible circumstances when they need it the most.

I am here for the girls because I am one of the legion who has been inspired by my sister.

-Jeff

, July 18, 2017 | More Post by

Desiree Parker is our Pink Link Program Manager. Here’s why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

Years ago, I had a job where I didn’t feel like I was making that much of a difference to anyone, even though I wanted to. If you think about it, your job is often where you expend the most effort (aside from what you do for your family), and I wanted to do something with my life that was useful and meaningful. I volunteered for Here for the Girls back when it was just Beyond Boobs!, and I loved what I did there. When I got the chance to work for the organization, I was thrilled to become part of the team!

Cancer has touched my life – as it has for many others. My mother had lung cancer when I was a teenager that ultimately metastasized and caused her death. She also had an early-stage primary breast cancer after her lung cancer diagnosis (it’s unusual for someone to have two primary cancers, especially when they occur close together) which was treated with a lumpectomy. After she died, I felt guilty because I didn’t think that (as a somewhat self-absorbed teen) I had done all I could to be there for her after she was diagnosed and through the five years until she passed away. (The photo is of me when I was little, sitting next to my mom).

I’ve come to realize over the years that we all handle tough situations like the death of a loved one in different ways at different times in our lives; we simply do what we can based on where we are emotionally. It makes me happy that now, as an adult and as a mother myself, I have a chance to work on behalf of women who are dealing with life after a breast cancer diagnosis. I’m glad to be a part of offering them a network of love and support. Many of the women we serve have happy outcomes, though some do not – but the important thing (to me) is to make sure they all have support at every phase of their treatment and beyond. You can face so much more in life when you have a hand to hold. That’s why I’m Here for the Girls!

, July 06, 2017 | More Post by

Jamin Riley is the husband of Victoria Riley, our Business Development and Operations Manager. He explains why he is “Here for the Girls”:

This past October, I was fortunate enough to volunteer at the annual “Run for the Hills” event on behalf of Here for the Girls. The spirit that was present was something else all together. Teams festooned with all manner of sparkle and shine chugged along in support of an organization unlike any other.

As a marshal for the race, I manned one of the checkpoints on the course and watched as group after group of uniquely exuberant racers walked, jogged, trotted, and even skipped along. I ran cross country in high school, but I had never seen a race quite like this. Spectators and runners alike were out of breath. Not from the race itself, but from cheering and uplifting. Every time a new group sprung from the woods, they echoed the screams of the volunteers and were given new life while rounding the turn.

I watched all of this unfold and couldn’t help but draw a comparison to the organization that we were all there to support. Here for the Girls makes a real difference in the lives of the women it embraces. This unique organization, festooned with all manner of sparkle and shine, gives Boobers! the breath they need to keep running each and every day.

, June 22, 2017 | More Post by

Victoria Riley is our Business Development and Operations Manager. Here’s why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

Victoria is pictured here on the left — she’s hard to recognize when she’s in disguise!

Being here for the girls started as a family affair back in 2008. My mom, who was volunteering at the time, asked my sister and I to help out. We were both undergraduates in college and until that point had only been volunteers to fulfill requirements for school. It was not until then that I realized what it meant to serve others.

Over the next eight years, I helped out here and there in various ways. In 2016, with the support of my husband, we turned our lives upside down and relocated to Williamsburg, VA. I accepted a full-time position with the organization. Since then, I have gained a new perspective of what it means to wake up each day and go to work. I am not here to punch in a clock and to collect a paycheck, but rather to support young women. The behind the scenes work, where I typically find myself on a day-to-day basis, keeps me going especially after losing three women in my first year.

The love, support, and togetherness displayed has been that of true sisters, much like the love, support, and togetherness shared with my own. We fight everyday because they fight everyday. That is why I am here for the girls.

, June 08, 2017 | More Post by

Colleen, on left with white top and blonde hair, with women who attended her session at the 2017 Renew, Restore, Retreat.

Colleen led our session on self-care at our 2017 Renew, Restore, Retreat. Here’s why she is “Here for the Girls”:

When I was asked to be a speaker at the 2017 Annual Retreat Weekend for Here For The Girls, my heart responded with a resounding ‘YES!’ Why am I ‘here for the girls’? I strongly believe all women are radiant, powerful and alluring creatures. Born with an intuitive wisdom and the innate sense to lead with their hearts, women have incredible power. And when women come together, combining those forces, something truly magical happens.

For ages women have circled together, in sisterhood, to inspire and encourage one another. In our world today, these circles, these support systems are more important and more needed than ever. Our culture, the stress of the daily grind, disease, abuse and competition have dimmed our feminine light and caused us to forget our innate gifts as women. But I’ve come to see that sometimes all it takes is a little reminder, a whisper, a gentle touch on the shoulder from a sister who cares to reignite that undeniable spark within and illuminate a fiercely radiant woman.

The immensity of women’s love, their capacity for hope, the resilience of their hearts never ceases to amaze me. Being surrounded by 80+ Boobers! at the retreat weekend, I was reaffirmed of this magic. Throughout the weekend, these women transformed before my eyes, fueled by sisterhood and their own inner flame. Given the permission to shine these women were ablaze. They were so full of life, love, light and joy – truly radiant beings. Being in their presence was such a gift, a true honor. Seeing their greatness reminded me of my own.

Sometimes all you need is support, someone to recognize you, to see you for who you truly are, to show you their true self so you know it’s okay to be your most authentic self. Sometimes all you need to hear is that you are beautiful, that you are strong… appreciated…loved.  And sometimes it’s just that arm around your shoulder, letting you know that you’re going to be alright, that is all you really need. And that is what Here for the Girls is all about. They aren’t here to save or fix anybody. They are here to acknowledge each other as complete and perfect beings just as they are. It’s a place to feel honored, to feel loved, to feel empowered. It’s a place to raise each other up, a place to rise above all that life throws your way. Here for the Girls cultivates and nourishes a genuine sisterhood, which in my opinion is a force to be reckoned with. I am here for the girls, and always will be.

, May 15, 2017 | More Post by

Dave is a husband to one H4TG staff member, father to another. Here’s why he is “Here for the Girls”:

Beyond Boobs! has recently evolved into Here for the Girls in what has been an amazing transformation from a grassroots organization in Williamsburg started by two visionary survivors into a powerful voice for women’s health with a rapidly expanding national presence.

My personal attachment to this worthwhile cause has primarily been through the eyes of my wife Chris, who is the Managing Director at Here for the Girls. From the moment she first started volunteering for this grassroots cause to when she took over a leadership role in the organization, I have witnessed first-hand the impact it has had on her overall perspective towards life.

Coming from a tunnel vision approach to life as a private grade school principal, which is what is needed to get that job done in that work environment, she has been able to completely expand her horizons in her role with Here for the Girls. This personal and professional growth has been benefited Chris and myself as well as our life together.

I am extremely proud to be part of an organization that knows how to live its vision and mission statement every single day of the year.

, March 17, 2017 | More Post by

Ola Onawole is our Not-Your-Typical Support Systems Program Manager. She shares why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

I grew up in a house full of girls. My mother, Wanda, was my favorite girl. She was everyone’s favorite. She would smile so widely and brightly. She would dance in a way that welcomed joy into the room. She would cook in a way that pushed both hunger and sadness out the door. She would pick up folks from off of tough city corners and down-on-their luck avenues. The girl was friendly; the girl was kind; the girl was popular for being the fresh comfort our whole community needed.

She taught us about something I like to call exaltation or celebration.It wasn’t something she said out loud. She taught us in the ways that she danced and in the ways that she laughed. She taught us in the ways that she cooked and befriended people.

We learned that this girl made it her daily goal to provide us (insert her children, her friends, her community) with:

    • 1. a feeling or state of extreme happiness.

By:

    • 2. the action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character

Not to mention:

      • the action of praising someone or something highly

So even when she was awaiting breast surgery in the hospital bed, she encouraged her 5 year old daughter to have a balloon party.

She was the ultimate party host in the way she invited guests to live life to their fullest potential and feel elevated every moment they spent in her presence.

So even when we lost her physical life to the cancer, there was this huge party of a funeral. The church was filled and People lined up outside. Everyone whispered about their friend Wanda who lifted them up higher than they could ever imagine. She was the girl of our dreams.

Wanda taught me the art of celebrating people. When I started working for  Here for the Girls, I knew I’d found a new group of party girls. Girls who wanted to dance in the wake of their pain. Girls who needed a band leader. Girls who needed lifting up, encouragement, and downright positive praise.

This is certainly the place for it. In the faces of the staff and volunteers, I see reflections of Wanda. Staff and volunteer girls who are supporting the valuable mission of this organization with power and passion. In the faces of the young women diagnosed with breast cancer, I see reflections of Wanda. The girls who are celebrating life and smiling in the midst of illness.

Wanda is right here when I’m with the girls, and I’m here for her. I’m here for the girls.

, March 09, 2017 | More Post by

Vicki Vawter is our Events and Community Relations Manager. She shares why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

Why am I here? I am here for the girls because I love finding ways for ordinary connections can turn into extraordinary ones.

I love when a business owner says ‘Yes! I want to help your efforts’, I love finding new ways they can help us and also recognize them for their generosity.

I love recruiting volunteers to help us in the office and at various events. It’s awesome to see how much the community wants to join us in our efforts and help us to pull off big events as well as small ones. Whether its handing out water to runners at our annual 5K/10K or addressing thank you notes, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.

I love when a single encounter or introduction turns into that person becoming a life-long friend to us. Maybe that friend ends up organizing their own fundraiser one day, or tells their best friend about us when they are diagnosed and don’t know where to turn. Or maybe they become a board member, or decide to sponsor a signature event.

I love coordinating new ways for our women to connect with each other. Perhaps at a fundraiser, wellness expo, speaking engagement, or event they meet someone new who has been down the same road as they have. Often times women find that they meet by ‘accident’ and then become best friends.

I love when a survivor goes to social media and says to her sisters on a private page, “I just can’t post this to everyone, but I knew you all would understand….” She tells of her fears, of her scars, or her loneliness. And within minutes, women she may have never met are offering their encouragement, their virtual hugs, and their cheers of

“You’ve got this!”
“We’re here for you!”
“You’re beautiful.”

I love that because of us, miracles can happen. Smiles can happen. Hope happens.
I am here for the girls.