Author Archive

West Valley Hope Sisters

My Hope Bag’s main program is the Hope Sister program. This is a group of ladies who, after training, deliver the Bags to breast cancer warriors. This is a one-on-one visit at the warrior’s home or a public place. The warrior is given the opportunity to talk about her own journey and the Hope Sister, most likely being a survivor herself, will listen and answer questions where she can. The Hope Sister presents the Bag with comfort items which are mostly handmade and will then assess the level of service My Hope Bag can provide.

From its inception, My Hope Bag has covered the East Valley and Central Phoenix.  As the need started rising, My Hope Bag expanded to the West Valley. We would like to encourage more Hope Sisters to serve in the West Valley. If you are a breast cancer survivor, or a current or former caregiver, and would like to serve in our Hope Sister program, please contact info@myhopebag.org. We are also interested in a Coordinator for that area. We would love to share more with you about this program.

Robyn & Beth

Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day

By Linda Vuolo

October 18, 2023

This event was very helpful and educational. Banner MD Anderson provided space for several BRA-related vendors to set up their information and share with visitors who ranged from patients and supporters to medical staff. They also shared information from some of their physicians as well as physical therapists and patient testimonials. Our own Linda Vuolo shared her reconstruction experience at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center (BMDACC). Though non-technical, Linda’s advice is a culmination of her experience through her breast cancer/reconstruction journey. Always get as much information as you can before making a decision for treatment.  Here is her testimonial.

My name is Linda Vuolo.  Thank you for allowing me to tell my story and 4 lessons that I learned. September 25, 2019 – That is when I heard the words ‘You have breast cancer’. Wait what? Me?

Lesson 1: Don’t Check Dr. Google!!

Lesson 2: If you can, have someone with you to listen and HEAR what is being said and to take notes

When you have to have a mastectomy, this is what we do…

Needless to say, the conveyor belt won

Lesson 3: LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. If you don’t have a good feeling or feel you and the Dr are not a good match, MOVE ON. There are plenty of other qualified surgeons to choose from. It was bad enough having cancer, but I was sooo depressed and felt disfigured.

Enter Dr. Michael Miller at BMDACC. He had just arrived to start building his plastics team.

Lesson 4: Do not stop until you are satisfied. There are many qualified surgeons out there who do not subscribe to the conveyor belt methodology.

 So, let’s review:

Take a breath…ugly cry when you need to let it out, then pull up your big girl panties and take control of your treatment.

You CAN do this.

Thank you for listening to my story.”

Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) Parts Conference

September 24, 2023

Daimler Truck NA holds a charity event/dinner as part of their Annual Parts Conference. Daimler’s Sandra Todd told My Hope Bag, “I selected your charity because I love that you put together a Hope Bag for those who are going through breast cancer.  I think it’s amazing that the people who deliver the bags are also breast cancer survivors or caregivers who understand what the person is going through. I love everything about what you are doing to help those through an extremely tough time in their life.”

Sandra continued, “As we are ending the month of September and going into the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, I thought what better way to end the month than to share your organization with our event to help kick off the next month!  My company would like to make a $10,000 donation for My Hope Bag.” Other donations during the evening equaled $1300. Thank you Daimler for your generosity.

My Hope Bag shared a little about how it helps men and women with breast cancer.  Having a predominantly male audience, gave us the opportunity to encourage men to have an annual breast cancer checkup as well as women. It was great to be able to share that information with over 400 people at the event.  If you want more information about men’s breast cancer, please contact info@myhopebag.org.  Thank you Daimler Truck NA!

 

Breast Cancer Resource Expo

September 30, 2023

After three years of not holding the Breast Cancer Resource Expo due to COVID-19, My Hope Bag happily gathered together and held the Breast Cancer Resource Expo on September 30 in Chandler. There were 30 vendors who were able to reach out to breast cancer warriors and their families. Close to 200 guests walked through the hall and received much-desired information to help them through their breast cancer journey.

So many people joined our Village of Hope to make this a meaningful day for all. Officer Timothy Letson led the police department’s Cadet Post #2055, Shelby, Vanessa, Matthieu, Ryan, and Jacob who all happily served visitors attending the Expo as well as Officer Grit Caton. Nick Ciletti, Channel 15 news anchor, visited with the vendors and drew winners for the raffle prizes.

Thank you to all of our participating vendors!!

My Hope Bag Hope Sisters

If you received a bag from My Hope Bag, it was no doubt delivered by lovely women we affectionately refer to as Hope Sisters. These ladies train to share hope and wisdom with warriors recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  They spend time with the bag recipient and let them share what they are experiencing.

The Hope Sister is able to give hope through her own experience, the items in the bag, and the Resource Guide that former recipients were able to combine abilities to produce, which is a part of the bag.

If you are interested in learning more about this special program including training to become a Hope Sister, please contact sarah@myhopebag.org or info@myhopebag.org.

MHB Backpack Drive

By Angie Jones

My Hope Bag supplied backpacks to Hope Bag recipient families in need of school supplies, on July 14, 2023. My Hope Bag partnered with East Valley Injury Law who assisted in packing and distributing the backpacks. 15 Children from 7 former bag recipients were able to “shop” for their own backpacks and lunch boxes which made the event more fun!!

Cheryl, front desk employee for East Valley Injury Law, had a great time passing out goodies to the children as they entered the building. A huge thank you to the companies who participated in this event: East Valley Injury Law, Evans Garrey, and Amazon. Without their support, this event would not have been possible!!

Thank you to everyone else who donated and to the volunteers who helped make this event happen! If you are interested in volunteering with My Hope Bag, please contact the Volunteer Team at www.myhopebag.org/volunteer.

The Man Behind the Woman

By Sarah Ellery

We lost the most amazing man, Brian Ellery, on March 7 this year. Brian would affectionately introduce himself to people as “The Man Behind the Woman”. My loving husband was chatting with me one minute, and the next minute he

wasn’t. Life is so fragile. Brian was always there for My Hope Bag right by my side. He loved meeting new people and always enjoyed talking with anyone associated with breast cancer.

He was friends with everyone he met. And he loved all of the My Hope Bag events and watching me get so excited about how many more warriors we were going to serve. But more than all of that was his devotion to his family. He was a loving husband and an amazing father to three wonderful children and one incredible grandson. To say he is missed is an understatement.

We know he is sharing Dad jokes in Heaven and asking God all of those questions of why life happens as it does that he referenced so many times. Hug your loved ones and let them know how much you love them. Don’t take a day for granted, you never know how many you have. We appreciate and thank you for your notes, thoughtful gifts, and being there to help us carry on without Brian.

We love and miss him very much.

We Appreciate YOU 2022!

Thank you for your participation with My Hope Bag during the year 2022. As we come up to the end of the year, we want to reflect on this year.

January – Good friend and My Hope Bag Board member, Alissa Serignese, received her angel wings in January 2022. Alissa was very devoted to My Hope Bag as she was in any area of her life. She has been missed by her family and her many friends.

February – Kim Palmer ran a Facebook birthday fundraiser. In lieu of birthday gifts, Kim requested friends and family to donate to the Facebook fundraiser for My Hope Bag. She raised $600. Way to go Kim. My Hope Bag thanks you for your support and donation.

MarchJulie Reid started a campaign for 2022 to collect non-slip fuzzy socks in memory of her friend Anna, to be donated to My Hope Bag. As of March, Julie received 133 pairs of socks. She has been collecting throughout the year and will be donating another crop of socks this week. Thank you, Julie. Anna’s memory will continue on through your Anna’s Army Non-Slip Fuzzy Socks Campaign. If you would like to donate to the campaign, please contact Julie, juliareid1988@gmail.com.

April – First Bingo for Boobies in the West Valley. It was held at Mirage Elementary, Phoenix. It was fun meeting people from the West Valley and introducing many of them to My Hope Bag. We look forward to Bingo for Boobies in the West Valley in the coming year.

May – Close friend and My Hope Bag Board member, Robyn Zepeda, gently received her angel wings after such a strong fight against cancer. Robyn had a huge heart which cancer was unable to penetrate. She is loved by many and will continue to be a very important part of My Hope Bag.

Phillips Law Group encourages its employees to wear pink on Wednesdays and donated to My Hope Bag on behalf of those who participate. Phillips presented a generous donation of $500. Keep that pink going, PLG!!

SeptemberBingo for Boobies on September 2 at Encanterra Community Clubhouse in Queen Creek. Plans for a Respite center were revealed and it will be named Robyn’s Nest. Donations for the Center were over $7000. Over $10,000 was raised from this event with over 200 attendees.

8th Annual Charity Golf Tournament, Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale. 131 golfers turned out for this signature event including 8 Green Queens (one of which was a male), who are men and women who are active in their breast cancer journey. This year’s proceeds were just over $25,000. My Hope Bag is looking forward to its 9th tournament in 2023.

October was a busy month.  My Hope Bag participated in many activities and received many donations.

220 contacts have been received for bags this year. That means that 220 families have been served through My Hope Bag’s Hope Sister program. Hope Sisters deliver a bag to a recipient who has requested us to meet with them. This is the recipient’s first meeting with My Hope Bag and future meetings and services stem from this meeting. We learn what some of the recipient’s needs are and see where we can help. My Hope Bag has a need for Hope Sisters in the East Valley and the West Valley. Please contact sarah@myhopebag.org, or donna@myhopebag.org if you would like to learn more about My Hope Bag’s Hope Sister program and when the next training class is.

14 mammogram requests were made in 2020. That is 14 lives that may have been saved because of being able to get a mammogram when they have no insurance.

10 benevolence gifts. This can include medical co-pays, groceries, help with small bills, and any other need that may arise as a result of breast cancer.

If you would like to volunteer for this wonderful organization, please contact us at info@myhopebag.org.

September, October, and November 2022 Excitement

By Sarah Ellery

My Hope Bag received 42 bag requests during these three months. Along with the requests were many events where the My Hope Bag experience was shared with many more men and women.

September 2Bingo for Boobies at Encanterra Resort Community, Queen Creek.  There were nearly 200 men, women, and a few children in attendance.  It was such a fun event with lots of B-I-N-G-O’s and lots of prizes.  Approximately $10,000 net was received $7,100 of which was donated to Robyn’s Nest, a future planned respite center for breast cancer women in memory of Robyn Zepeda. Watch for future Bingo events in 2023.

September 168th Annual Charity Golf Tournament, Talking Stick Golf Club, Scottsdale. 131 golfers turned out for this signature event including 8 Green Queens. The Queens (which included one male “Queen”) are selected from men and women we know who are active in their breast cancer journey.  They come and have a fun day and get to know others who are also active in their journey. This year’s sponsors included TDIndustries, Phillips Law Group, Environ, Adobe Drywall, ASU Alumni, Insurist, Karber Mechanical, Edward Jones, and Swift Transportation. We thank these wonderful sponsors without whom the golf tournament would not be possible. Please view our donors on our website. This year’s net proceeds were just over $25,000.  Huge thank you to all who attended and all who volunteered to make this a fabulous event.

October (All Month)Paul’s Ace Hardware supported My Hope Bag through their Round Up program.  When customers pay for their items, Paul’s Ace Hardware asks if they would like to Round Up their total for My Hope Bag. Paul’s Ace Hardware has 8 stores and My Hope Bag participated in all 8. We are overwhelmed to accept a donation of $9,967.83 from the Round Up efforts!!

October 19 – Intel Winnow Breast Cancer Fair, Chandler. A great fair was held at the Intel complex allowing employees to ask questions of the participants. My Hope Bag met many people enquiring of the participants how they help breast cancer patients. We have three new volunteers and a support group associate to help increase awareness at Intel.

October 24 – My Hope Bag traveled to United Aviate Academy in Goodyear to meet with some of their staff and students. United Aviate Academy trains future pilots with United Airlines. We had a delightful time with them while they assembled 50 bags for our future use. They also bagged the bracelets for the bags, bagged thank you cards, and assembled Thrive Causemetics into Thrive Causemetics cosmetic bags which also went into the bags.  A big thank you to Sherri who coordinated the event. Thank you also to staff members Carmen and Pam as well as students DeAnna, Isabelle, Brittney, and Jinhua. The ladies assembled the bags with all contents in a little over an hour.  One suggested we bring 200 bags next time. I said, “Done!”  Their generosity saved My Hope Bag hours of assembling bags on an as-needed basis. Thank you again, lovely ladies. We had a great time and sure look forward to future events with you.

October 31 – Keetra Bippus featured My Hope Bag in the Queen Creek Sun Times. Read the full article here.

October (All Month) – Mesa Police Department held its Pink Patch Project to sponsor My Hope Bag for the month of October.  Profits from the sale of pink patches, pink patch t-shirts, PP lapel pins, and PP coins, were presented to My Hope Bag at the MPD Pink Patch Breakfast on November 14 for $4,750!!! As well, several officers and administrative employees gathered with My Hope Bag volunteers to assemble the bags to be given to breast cancer men and women. Thank you Mesa Police Department for your service to men and women with breast cancer.

October 31Nick Ciletti, Channel 15 News, spoke with men and women at the Mesa Police Department who were assembling Hope Bags with My Hope Bag volunteers. Read the full story here.

Thank you to each and every one of you who were a part of our exciting September, October, and November! We can’t do what we do, without you!

United Aviate Academy volunteers to assemble My Hope Bags

By Sarah Ellery

Monday, October 24, My Hope Bag traveled to United Aviate Academy in Goodyear to meet with some of their staff and students. United Aviate Academy trains future pilots with United Airlines. We had a delightful time with them while they assembled 50 bags for our future use. They also bagged the bracelets for the bags, bagged thank you cards, and assembled Thrive Causemetics into Thrive Causemetics cosmetic bags which also went into the bags.

A big thank you to Sherri who coordinated the event. Thank you also to staff members Carmen and Pam as well as students DeAnna, Isabelle, Brittney, and Jinhua. The ladies assembled the bags with all contents in a little over an hour.  One suggested we bring 200 bags next time. I said, “Done!”

Their generosity saved My Hope Bag hours of assembling bags on an as-needed basis. Thank you again, lovely ladies. We had a great time and sure look forward to future events with you.