Last week, we got to know our October Smarty Warrior, Jen Pagani, who is incredible on so many levels! It’s funny because over the last week, I’ve had several people mention to me that they saw my sticker, the presh “go jen go” pink & green logo. Actually, that’s Jen’s baby – we were destined to meet. The Pink & Green Jens:-)
As promised, today we’re going to get cozy with the GoJenGo Foundation, that is so near and dear to Jen’s heart. Here she is in her powerful words:
“GJG F is a non profit institution dedicated to providing financial assistance and emotional support to individuals and families, in North and South Carolina, who are battling breast cancer. We provide aid during diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
We also provide financial support to charitable organizations which offer resources and programs aimed at assisting these individuals. Additionally, the GJG F promotes awareness of treatment options for individuals diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), provides financial assistance to organizations and medical professionals conducting research for the advancement of inflammatory br cancer diagnosis and treatment.”
The GJG Foundation is the realization of a dream and a manifestation of hope. It began as a promise I made to God a couple of years ago. I promised, among other things, that if he spared my life and allowed me more time on this Earth with my family and friends, that I would give back to others and share some of the many blessings we’ve received during our long journey with breast cancer. We have had an incredible outpouring of help, from a huge variety of individuals and groups (like the Prayer Warriors) from far and wide. The help continues and I do not doubt, for one second, that I would have already lost my battle without it. We have this help in part because of our own initiative, we have two sets of grandparents here, we have many friends, we both have colleagues from work and we have some amazing neighbors. Joe has a good job, we have easy access to the internet and great help with childcare (grandparents, play dates and supportive schools). But, even with all of these incredible blessings, it is still hard every single day. The stress continues and sometimes threatens to overwhelm. It is hard to get food bought, meals on the table, errands done…while I frequently feel quite bad, have a zillion md appointments and need to take a daily nap. We juggle the boys’ schoolwork and activities just like any other family does. And the bills never, ever end.
Joe and I started wondering if it is so hard for us, how are the women who are diagnosed and with fewer or limited resources able to battle BC? Single moms, women without family nearby, women who were already struggling to make ends meet before hearing those terrible words “You have breast cancer”.
It has taken us a long while to get our Foundation up and officially running with all the health setbacks I have had. We held fundraisers and starting providing aid (ex. One single mom on chemo couldn’t keep her heat on this past winter without GJG’s help and another single mom with advanced breast cancer needed help to buy her special needs daughter clothes, birthday and christmas gifts and help with bills) about a year and a half ago.
Our GJG site is www.gojeno.org and we are on facebook. You can make a donation via paypal on the site. Our vision is to also provide, in addition to financial assistance, a place on our web site where you can click on a link to fill a specific need for a specific person we are assisting (ex. Bring meals for suzie, or bus/taxi money for Allison, or provide a ride to/from treatment for Joan…). Not sure when this will happen, hopefully someday:-) Also, we are officially recognized by BOA as a matching charity! So spread the Smarty word to all your Bank of America peeps!
We are blessed with incredible, passionate, caring volunteers and donors who want to make a difference in the lives of the women and men in our community who are struggling to balance a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment with a the usual demands of life. If you’re a Smarty Mom, or you know one, who’s got mad skillz on the computer, organizing, fundraising or a cool creative side, please consider signing up as a GoJenGo volunteer!
I am closing with an excerpt from a letter from a local Charlotte single mom who, while battling an advanced breast cancer diagnosis, received monthly financial help from us earlier this year.
“i just wanted you guys to know how much your help was appreciated…it came at the right time…that was when I needed it most! U guys rock! We thank you from the bottom of our heart!”
Remember, one in eight women in our community are effected by breast cancer, so sign on and help us help make a difference in woman’s life now!