“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” —President Barack Obama

Last Thursday, several of us from Gutenberg had the privilege of attending the People with Purpose fundraising luncheon hosted by our client, the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation.

“HERS” stands for Hope, Empowerment, Renewal, and Support. The luncheon was a resounding success on all these fronts – the room was full of hope and a tangible sense of purpose as breast cancer survivors and their supporters from the community came together to celebrate another year of hard work.

The mission of the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation is to support all women healing from breast cancer by providing post-surgical products and services regardless of financial status. They provide specialty undergarments, wigs, lymphedema sleeves, and other products that help breast cancer survivors heal after surgery and treatment. At their two program stores, talented and caring breast care specialists create a “soft place to fall” for women who have been profoundly impacted by the physical and emotional effects of their cancer and treatment.

Already this year, the foundation has lots of good news to share. Most significantly, they opened a new program store at the Stanford Cancer Center. The Stanford Cancer Center empowers collaboration, fosters multidisciplinary research and accelerates the pace of new knowledge that can be translated into new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. This makes it a premier location for HERS Breast Cancer Foundation to serve a new population of survivors. Likewise, 2013 was a year of continued steady growth: clients were served in over 1500 visits last year, with all programs seeing increases. Every client served means a survivor is not facing their healing process alone. The physical healing power of the garments and the emotional healing found in restoring a sense of dignity and personal beauty combine to have a powerfully positive effect on the women who use the Foundation’s services.

At the luncheon, the keynote speaker and honorees all gave inspiring and meaningful speeches about their involvement in the cause; several were cancer survivors. Dr. Kimberly Allison, a breast cancer pathologist from Stanford, read an excerpt from her memoir about her own personal fight with breast cancer, and the realization that medical care was only half the battle – the support of loved ones and community was just as important in her healing process. The audience acknowledged the powerful truths at the heart of her story with a tearful standing ovation. Dr. Mark Pegram, Director of the Stanford Breast Oncology Program, filled the room with hope as he shared news of recent FDA approvals and promising clinical trials.

Bay Area organizations Latinas Contra Cancer (founded by Ysabel Duron) and To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation (run entirely by volunteers) were honored for their research, outreach, and financial support. Gene Mello, CEO of Myers-Stevens-Mello and a generous leader in his Fremont community, was recognized for his long-standing support of the Foundation; he has been working with them to fill their insurance needs for over 12 years.

We look forward to another great year of working with HERS Breast Cancer Foundation and the amazing women who run it. Spread some hope and show your support by sharing their story in your community — especially if you know someone who might need the services they offer. Donations are always gratefully accepted.