, July 21, 2019 | More Post by

left to right: H4TG Executive Director Chris Schwab, Co-Founder Rene Bowditch, and Co-Founder and former Executive Director Mary Beth Gibson.

Welcome to the blog series “Thoughts From Chris,” a quarterly letter from our Executive Director, Chris Schwab. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
I write to you today as the new Executive Director of Here for the Girls. It is an honor to continue the work that Mary Beth Gibson dedicated over the last twelve years as the organization’s first leader. My commitment is to continue the goal of providing a unique style of support based on the passion and determination developed by our co-founders, Mary Beth Gibson and Rene Bowditch. With the strong team we have and the legacy and support of our founders, I am excited about the future of the organization.
My background is in the non-profit sector; most of my career was dedicated to education where I earned an M.A. ED with a concentration on educational administration. For the last ten years, I have been with Here for the Girls and have played various roles from volunteer to Board member to Managing Director.
H4TG has made and continues to make a positive impact on the lives of young women affected by breast cancer. My vision is to grow the organization to meet the ever-changing needs of even more young breast cancer survivors while maintaining our core values and culture in a way that is scalable, supportable, and fiscally responsible.
I value the importance of a team and will work closely with our Board in developing future strategy, with our staff in carrying out our goals, and with our constituents in learning new opportunities — all of which will result in mission program excellence. It is with humility that I accept this role and I will maintain the heart of the organization based on its foundation: LOVE.

Thank You For Your Support,
Chris Schwab, Executive Director

Category: Blog

, July 21, 2019 | More Post by

Welcome to our new blog series, “Mission Moment!” It’s a snapshot of the impact our mission and programs have on the women we serve. If you have any questions about Here for the Girls support services and programs, email the program team at support@hereforthegirls.org!

We are always striving for new ways to live our mission, so the program team tried something new this year. We hosted our first-ever retreat just for women living with stage IV breast cancer, and all we can say is WOW! The event was excellent and offered our women important information and extra support, but there is one moment that continued to touch the staff long after the event was over.

While seated in an intimate garden on the water with the peaceful sounds of the harp playing in the background, our attention was immediately grabbed when the harpist began singing, “H4TG, H4TG, provides love and support for me.” The women gathered even closer than before, wrapping their arms around each other in a way that said, “I understand what you are feeling like no one else can.” The feeling our women shared in this moment is one we will keep in our minds as we continue to find new ways to offer support to our women.

If you are a woman diagnosed with breast cancer under 51 and currently living with stage IV breast cancer, we encourage you to attend next year’s “You’re in Charge” retreat! Keep an eye out for more information in 2020.

, July 12, 2019 | More Post by

Raquel, 42, diagnosed at 36

1st degree family history; BRCA1 positive

Raquel, a military wife, mother of three, and office manager, was in the process of relocating the household when she felt a lump while showering. With a family history of breast cancer (mother, grandmother), she prepared for the worst but had to wait four months to be seen and to learn she had Stage 2 breast cancer. Her husband returned from deployment to help as she underwent a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and total hysterectomy (after learning she had inherited a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, surprisingly from her father). When her reconstruction failed, she became a member of the “flat and fabulous” club. Following her diagnosis, Raquel ventured beyond the role of devoted homemaker to discover a successful career woman waiting in the wings. She says, “I have new confidence in myself. I own my space, and I am not afraid anymore.” A Disney fanatic, Raquel was thrilled to portray her favorite character, Snow White and relates to Snow’s nature – hard working, generous, nurturing, and very optimistic – and to Snow’s ability to laugh, sing, and dance through life’s hardships. “We are not defined by our circumstance – we define our circumstance,” is the theme of Raquel’s fairy tale.