, October 22, 2019 | More Post by

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!

October is the final wrapping up of summer and the welcome of fall; at Here for the Girls (H4TG), it is a busy time as it is also breast cancer awareness month. This is a month to take a moment to stop and think about the 1 in 8 women in the U.S. who will be diagnosed with this disease. Unfortunately, this statistic could apply to a member of our family, a friend, or a co-worker.
Many breast cancer organizations are focused on helping women manage and live with this disease, as is Here for the Girls. I commend all who dedicate their time and expertise toward this common goal. With our different programs, services, and styles we are all addressing the needs of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
We support young women under the age of 51 because of the unique challenges and fears women in this age range face with their diagnosis. We listen to the words of our women like AJ, who said, “Halfway through chemo, I hit a wall. I felt nobody understood what I was going through.” Our team dedicates their time to understanding the challenges young women face and continually improves comprehensive support programs designed to train facilitators and deliver our support services. AJ left her first meeting comforted by knowing she had “sisters” that understood her fear of not seeing her children grow up. She is now a trained H4TG facilitator and a 2020 calendar girl ambassador helping other women.
We build and nurture relationships with the medical community because they understand firsthand what happens to a young women’s emotional well-being after a diagnosis and that many times the impacts last long after treatment. It is our responsibility to partner with the medical community in offering vital information through educational sessions, our published breast health guide, and our weekend retreats – all that provide the most up-to-date knowledge they need to continue living their best lives beyond this disease.
We connect on a personal level with our communities because people understand that breast cancer is very much a community issue.  It is our mothers, wives, sisters, and partners that are faced with this disease and the statistics that give them a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed.  Marsha Hudgins, CEO of Hudgins Contracting and supporter of H4TG shares, “this (H4TG) is for real people who live in our community – people that we can see, talk to and know what they are going through.” Women play a vital role in the health of communities; they are strong leaders, they inspire the youth, and they mentor others. It is important to connect with the community so that together we build an environment where women with a breast cancer diagnosis understand the positive impact they have.
As we launch into the month of October, I ask that you take a moment to think about the statistics and the impact of breast cancer on your community. Take a moment to listen to the sentiments of our calendar girl ambassadors in the this video. Share our services with someone in need. Give us a call or email if you would like to learn more or get involved. Help us be “here for our girls.”

Thank You For Your Support,
Chris Schwab, Executive Director

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by
What does it mean to “go beyond pink?” It’s a fair question. During the month of October, the pink is everywhere! We see pink ribbons on everything from coffee cups to cottage cheese and everything in between. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of fundraising for any organization, but sometimes the pink isn’t doing what you think. I once picked up a pink lollipop in the shape of a ribbon off of a large display of pink products. Reading the label I found nothing about who the sale of this lollipop (and my hardearned $1.19) would benefit. The label said in a tiny font, “proceeds benefit breast cancer awareness.” Awareness? Aren’t we all aware by now? And who is getting that money, exactly? As I walked away (with my $1.19 still in my pocket), I was thinking about how great it makes me feel to meet someone who is going BEYOND merely making us aware of what that pink ribbon means, beyond wearing some pink, and beyond even encouraging others to do the same. They are taking action to make a real change and raising funds to help “the girls” with breast cancer in a tangible way.
That’s what going beyond pink means to us! It’s our supporters and partners who raise funds for our organization and the women we serve. They put our name on their promotional materials along with our mission statement, and often times they even share our website so that someone seeing that post, flyer, or product knows where to get support if they need it.
One example this month of “going beyond pink” is the simple profit share hosted by local brand consulting firm DesignHaus on behalf of our organization. Owner Julia Verden-Hillebrand wrote, “This is the beginning of a wonderful partnership with an amazing support network. DesignHaus has committed to support Here for the Girls and the opportunity to give back to the community and support a great cause by continuously donating 5% of ALL proceeds!” Now that’s what I call going beyond pink! Some of our other supporters and partners plan elaborate events like a recent bowling tournament hosted by Clubwaka or a Zumbathon recently hosted by Ironbound Gym, and others simply choose to collect donations throughout the month of October.
However you choose to support our mission and our women, H4TG appreciates each and every dollar, which we use to make a real difference in the lives of young women affected by breast cancer. And yes, we will sport some pink from time to time! It starts a conversation, and for that we are most grateful. In our logo you’ll notice a pink heart that was inspired by a pink ribbon. Why? Because we’re all about the love! We love our ladies, we love our supporters, and we LOVE it when our friends go beyond pink – For the Girls!
– Vicki Vawter, H4TG Program and Community Relations Manager
Category: Blog

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

If we use the benchmark set by Mrs. King, the greatness of the community at Here for the Girls is immeasurable. Having worked with Here for the Girls for many years, the team at ALOR is constantly blown away by the good that they do for their community and the unwavering support they offer to young women during the toughest times of their lives.

The part of Here for the Girls’ mission that resonates the most with the team at ALOR is their unshakable desire to create a community of women who are strong, courageous, and genuine. Community is a necessity to thrive and survive even in the most mundane of times and to build such a strong network during times of strife is truly awe-inspiring. This community-centric philosophy is part of what inspired our Affirmation Collection and ultimately what connected us with Here for the Girls.

Through no easy feat, the committed members of this organization have made a lasting impact on so many lives and ALOR is proud to play even the smallest part to help maintain this network of women relying on and inspiring each other. It is our ultimate hope that through the channels of communication that this organization has created, no one has to go through their journey alone but instead are surrounded by their sisters and, of course, the good health fairy!

-The Team at ALOR

A portion of the proceeds for bracelets sold from ALOR’s Affirmation Collection (pictured here) in October will be donated to Here for the Girls.

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by
47, diagnosed at 44 
1st degree family history 
No known genetic mutation 
Samantha (aka Sammi Jo), a finance project manager, had reported feeling a lump in her right breast for nearly a year and finally insisted her doctor order a mammogram. Just four months after her wedding, she was diagnosed with stage 0, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. Eight days prior to surgery, her husband found information about a study of a new type of tissue expander that allows patients to expand them at home. Determined to have them, she persevered and achieved the nearly impossible – becoming the first USA patient outside the study to get them, paving the way for others. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Sammi Jo is a fierce advocate for herself and others, like her character, Little Red Riding Hood. “Throw me to the wolves, and I will return leading the pack,” describes her well. Blending compassion with determination, Sammi Jo is committed to helping others who travel her path and says, “The fear is real, but soon I hope you will be where I am now – a little battered and bruised, but wiser, braver, and with a quiet inner strength that will remind you every day of what you have achieved.”