Archive for October, 2021

Hope Sisters Reunited

By Sarah Ellery

What a beautiful morning to share with longtime friends. Meet Toni Strole, Hope Sister for 4+ years.  Toni joined My Hope Bag while caring for her mother, Sue, during Sue’s battle with stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. In 2017, Toni contacted My Hope Bag saying she was inspired to help this worthy cause when and where she could, when she wasn’t visiting her mom. Being the wonderful seamstress she is, Toni started off by making the heart pillows which go in each Hope Bag. Within the next year, Toni volunteered with the Hope Sister program which are the beautiful ladies who bring hope and comfort to other breast cancer warriors by visiting with them and presenting them with the lovely Hope Bag filled with wonderful comfort items.

In less than a year, Robyn Zepeda, stage 4 metastatic breast cancer warrior, was at an event where she talked with the event coordinator about volunteering with their organization. She directed her to My Hope Bag. When I met Robyn, it was like “Friend at First Sight”. After talking with her, anyone would have been able to feel her heart for others. Robyn wanted to share her experiences with breast cancer and assure other warriors that they are not alone in their journey. Right away, Robyn wanted to know what she could do to serve others. After introducing the Hope Sister program to Robyn, she not only wanted to participate, but she wanted to run it!! It was wonderful to feel her enthusiasm and love for each woman she met. She started delivering bags and soon met Toni. The two of them clicked and along with delivering bags they also visited Dr.’s offices and shared information on My Hope Bag to encourage more women to visit our services. It was the beginning of a life-long friendship.

Toni moved to Florida 1-1/2 years ago. The three of us have kept this wonderful friendship going through texts, emails, and zoom calls. Seeing Toni this past weekend was like she never left. Our brief but amazing visit reminded us of the power we all hold by following our hearts to serve others. I have heard many women say that going through breast cancer is the worst and the best experience they have ever had to go through. It turns out to be the best because of all the wonderful friends they make while going through something which could otherwise be quite terrifying.

If you are interested in hearing more about My Hope Bag Hope Sister program, please contact Robyn at


It’s October once again

By Stephanie Kennelly

It’s October. What once was ghosts, pumpkins, and changing leaves for me, is now also, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My first October in the Breast Cancer Club.

October 1st- I froze. I thought, maybe I could just stick my head in the sand, Halloween would come, and the month would go away.

After retreating to my favorite place, I found the words. Better late than never. And my intention is to help others and contribute to my own healing. So here we go.

Breast cancer awareness for yourself:

I will never stop telling my story. I found my lump. In the shower at age 37, three years before my first mammogram. When I had my first period at age 12, my doctor told me to do breast exams in the shower once a month. Good habits start early, and this useful piece of advice saved my life. Do your breast exams. Have daughters? Teach them. While you’re at it, check in with your whole body- and listen. Then advocate.

Breast cancer awareness for your people:

You know, or will know, someone with breast cancer. Let me tell you, I could not have gotten through it alone. Always feel free to give out my contact information. My purpose is a connection, so I am more than happy to have conversations. Also Firefly Sisterhood, Imerman Angels, and After Breast Cancer Diagnosis provide one-on-one mentorship for free. The first step after the diagnosis? Connect.

Breast cancer awareness for the community:

Pinkwashing is a thing. Organizations profiting off of Pinktober. If you are looking for organizations to support- I have recommendations.

GVL Thrive- (the program I founded!)

Non-Profits that helped me-…