Deonna’s Angels in Florida

Our breast cancer community lost a wonderful warrior. Deonna Jacobs passed away in January. Her love and compassion were exemplified in true fashion. Her wish was that after her passing, friends and family would donate to My Hope Bag in lieu of flowers.

Deonna Bernhardt (Jacobs)

To date, My Hope Bag has received $4500 to be used when continuing Deonna’s desire of serving women who have been subjected to the cruelness of breast cancer.  One of her friends in Florida, Amy Long, expressed wanting to keep Deonna’s memory alive and a desire to serve women in Florida through My Hope Bag.

Amy’s Tribute to Deonna–

“When I met Deonna Bernhardt (Jacobs), I quickly realized she was a caretaker and a collector of stray people. I was a shy young girl in the Air Force and watching her navigate a world I so wanted to thrive in left me awestruck.

From the reckless way she drove through the streets on base in Iraq… to the way she demanded what she needed from the people around her, Deonna wasn’t afraid of anything.  She taught me to ask for what I needed… She taught me to love fully and unconditionally… She raised me to be a much stronger version of myself than I ever would’ve been without her in my life and for that I am grateful.

Amy Long

When we found out we’d lost Deonna it was devastating. I drove straight to Arizona to see everyone and support my friends through this loss. The more I spoke to her other friends the more I learned that not only had she collected me… she had collected many others. We often do not truly know a person and the extent of their generosity until we meet the others who their service, love, and friendship has touched.

Deonna spent her entire life giving to others… helping others…  supporting, teaching, guiding, leading, and loving others. It was through Deonna that I learned about My Hope Bag and I immediately saw what she loved about it. I am grateful to Sarah and Robyn for the opportunity to carry on Deonna’s legacy of giving and loving by pulling My Hope Bag into Central Florida. Deonna would never leave anyone to fend for themselves. She pulled me along quite literally and MADE me grow up from the day she met me… and it is my hope to pull and grow My Hope Bag into Florida much the way that Deonna pulled me… out of my shell and grew me into the woman I am grateful to be today.

Deonna is still a shining light in this world… now it is just through those she influenced by knowing exactly who she was and living and loving without fear.”

Toni with mom, Sue

Amy is joined in Florida by Toni Stole, a My Hope Bag volunteer who relocated from Mesa to Melbourne, FL. Toni continues to volunteer with My Hope Bag after caring for her mother for three years following her breast cancer diagnosis. Toni says, “It is a wonderful way to let women know that they are cared about and can stay connected with an organization that supports them.”

Amy and Toni will serve women in the same manner as My Hope Bag has always done.  One difference is that the handmade bracelet shared in the bag will don a flip flop in remembrance of Deonna who was rarely seen without wearing them! If you are going through a breast cancer journey and live in Florida, please request a bag through