Cancer is a scary word. And amidst the stress of treatment, patients in the Gainesville community can get overwhelmed.
Glory, Hope, and Life steps in to help ease some of their burden.
“I think the majority of what we do…you can all trace it back to a financial barrier,” said Mimi Collins, chairwoman of the board for GHL. “Wigs, you know, it's somebody who doesn't have insurance coverage and doesn't necessarily have the resources to pay for a wig…and gift cards, nutrition support.”
Collins and board member Counte Cooley said GHL can offer cancer patients immediate help, including something like paying an electricity bill or transportation for an appointment.
“That's what makes Glory, Hope, and Life so unique, in my perspective- the fast response,” said Cooley. “People reach out for help [and] we can help them right then.”
Glory, Hope, and Life started in 2008 by combining three separate nonprofits that were providing similar services: For Her Glory, Harvest of Hope, and Embracing Life.
Glory, Hope, and Life continues the work that each of these nonprofits started, while also paying homage to their original names.
The ‘glory’ portion of the name comes from the nonprofit For Her Glory, which started as a way to provide funding for wigs and other medical necessities for patients who could not afford them.
Cooley, who started For Her Glory with his wife Jackie, said the idea stemmed from a conversation Jackie and her friend Judy Piotrowski overheard while visiting the Wig Shop in the Longstreet Clinic. Piotrowski was battling breast cancer at the time.
The manager of the shop was in the middle of a tense phone conversation with a young mother who couldn’t afford a wig.
“The manager of the shop told Jackie and Judy that, and they heard the story of the 21-year-old lady who had two children, by the way,” said Cooley. “ And they said ‘Well, don't worry about it, we'll pay for the wing,’ and that started For Her Glory.”
The name For Her Glory comes from the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 11:15, which Piotrowski happened upon the night after overhearing the conversation in the shop. Sadly, Piotrowski passed away shortly after, but her legacy lives on with GHL.
Harvest for Hope started as a survivorship event hosted by several local oncologists. The event was used as a way to bring together cancer patients and their families for a day of celebration and education.
Glory, Hope, and Life has continued that event and plans to release details for this year’s event soon.
What was previously known as Embracing Life rounds out the final portion of Glory, Hope, and Life. Similar to a Make-a-Wish Foundation trip, this branch of the nonprofit funds trips for a cancer patient and a caregiver.
Glory, Hope and Life relies on healthcare professionals to identify patients who can benefit from the nonprofit’s services. Collins said the Northeast Georgia Health System cancer navigators play a large role in recommending patients in need.
The number of patients receiving help from GHL varies from month to month, but Collins said the amount of money the nonprofit sends to individual patients through prepaid gift cards averages around $10,000 per month.
Cooley said GHL donates between $2,000 and $5,000 per month for wigs.
“We fund at least $250,000 a year in individual recipients' needs,” Collins explained. “ And we want to continue to grow that, so we really have continued to work on [asking] what are those needs? And what are the gaps in the community?”