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Blossoming Beyond Breast Cancer

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BBF Global Relief has given a grant to Keepers of the Flame Foundation to provide breast cancer patients and survivors with professional counseling services. Keepers of the Flame Foundation is a nonprofit in Savannah, Georgia whose mission is to empower breast cancer patients to weather their diagnoses both physically and emotionally.

Joyce Williams, the founder and Executive Director of Keepers of the Flame (KOTF), was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 36. Her 10-month treatment plan saved her life—but it also left her exhausted. “I wasn’t fully prepared for the emotional scars nor how to heal from them,” Williams says. “I was in over my head; the coping skills I’d used my whole life were failing me.”

Williams shared her experience with others and realized she wasn’t alone. “It was just the part of a cancer diagnosis that people weren’t talking about yet. With an incredible team of community leaders, survivors, and clinicians we set off to do something about it and started Keepers of the Flame Foundation,” she says.

Keepers of the Flame and Dr. Elisabeth Counselman Carpenter at Adelphi University, conducted a formal research study and found that 90% of breast cancer patients who participated in the study indicated that therapy would have been beneficial. Recognizing the critical need to provide support, KOTF designed a program to address this gap. In April, BBF Vice President of Communications and Development, Laura Kelly, presented Keepers of the Flame Foundation with a grant to fund the program, providing counseling services for breast cancer patients and survivors.

“It was incredibly moving to see the gratitude and excitement from Keepers of the Flame and the area physicians and surgeons upon receiving the grant. I talked with several doctors who all shared how profoundly impactful this funding will be for their community and in particular, for uninsured patients. They spoke of previous patients they knew would benefit from counseling and therapy services who were unable to access them from lack of insurance. They were grateful BBF’s grant will allow patients like these to now have access to the critical care that will aid their emotional recovery and improve their overall well-being.”

The grant’s impact extends far beyond the metro Savannah area, reaching into the rural corners where healthcare access is often scarce. Interest in the counseling program was immediate and the first patients received therapy through the program at the beginning of April.  

“Therapy helps teach personalized coping strategies to help one weather their storm and make it to the lighthouse in the distance, and the partnership we have with BBF makes this possible. We are thrilled to be partnering with BBF in this way,” Williams says.

To support the Blossoming Beyond Breast Cancer Fund, go to brothersbrother.org/donate and select Breast Cancer Fund from the drop-down menu.

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