1. Pink Well Challenge Finalist Profile: Friends of Mel Foundation


    Our mission is to provide quality cancer care for the whole patient by funding cancer research, education, and patient support. Our goal is to support creative and promising projects that impact patient care at both the grass root and institutional levels. Founded in memory of Mel Simmons, our foundation has gifted grants to numerous organizations across the country. We have funded breast cancer research, educational conferences, and partnered with other non-profits to raise funds to help breast cancer patients as they navigate their treatment. In addition, we were one of the founders of the Cancer Garden of Hope in Boston.

    Our average donation is $15-$20. With that, we were able to donate $1 million dollars to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). This gift was used to underwrite Dr. Beverly Moy’s breast cancer research. On October 14, 2011 MGH unveiled their Visionary Donor Wall - a six-panel glass display in the hospital’s main lobby which features the names of nearly 500 individuals, foundations and corporations - including Friends of Mel, who have given transformational gifts of $1 million or more during its 200-year history. As a grassroots organization, we are incredibly proud to be an integral part of Mass General’s history.

    Fortunately, millions of people who’ve been treated for cancer continue to embrace life afterward with all of its joys and challenges. While Friends of Mel has staunchly supported cancer research, educational endeavors, and programs that meet the day-to-day needs of cancer patients, we also recognize that people who have finished treatment still have many questions. In an effort to meet that need, we have launched our first annual conference on survivorship: The Art of Living - Life Beyond Cancer, designed specifically to give survivors and their caregivers the tools they need to enjoy a healthier, happier life.

    The number one distress identified among cancer survivors is the inability to function the way they had pre- cancer. Studies show that physical therapy is an effective, non-medication solution for the side effects associated with cancer treatments. In an effort to help survivors increase strength and energy, alleviate pain, and improve daily function after treatments such as mastectomies, we will use our Pink Well funds to underwrite an initiative that provides training for rehabilitation professionals to meet the specific needs of patients suffering from the remnants of cancer. The goal is to restore survivors to a more “normal” state.

    In 2005, a small group of women came together with an idea to raise $5,000 in memory of their dear friend, Mel Simmons. With an average donation of $15 to $20 and a simple token of appreciation, Friends of Mel has been able to grow into an international community of women who have united to make a difference in the cancer world. To date, we have gifted nearly $3 million dollars to programs and organizations that work diligently to support those whose lives have been touched by cancer.