Wow, what a year 2020 has been! I think each and every one of us has been challenged during these uncertain times, making adjustments to our everyday lives to keep ourselves and our loved one safe and healthy. As I look back at the past 8 months, I am proud and humbled by the good work that BRF has been able to accomplish and the incredible community support that has made that work possible.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, when many non-profits ceased all assistance to families, BRF became the only resource providing transportation, leaving all of our referring providers scrambling to get their patients to their life-saving cancer treatments. To address the incredible need, we adjusted our program to offer ongoing transportation to all individuals until other resources became available again. Although this caused an overwhelming influx of referrals, it was our way to make a lasting impact on our families when they needed us most.
The community that has supported the effort of the Breathing Room Foundation for over 23 years stepped up in a big way! Because of all of YOU, we delivered 80 Covid care packages to families unable to get out and shop for food, diapers, medical supplies, and toiletries. Because of YOU, we held a successful match campaign, raising $53,851. This amount was critical to our ability to support our families who are not only fighting cancer but are now facing the fears associated with Covid. Because of YOU, we were able to continue to be a glimmer of hope to our families by staying in close touch, sending beautifully handcrafted cards, and having volunteers checking in by phone and making safe, contactless deliveries. Through these ongoing activities, we continued to let our families know they are not alone in their fight.
The most rewarding part of our work has always been hearing the gratitude expressed from the families who receive our support. Today, more than ever, the words of gratitude are what inspire us to push forward and to continue to keep the vision of the Foundation front of mind. Our Vision is to improve the lives of families affected by cancer so that no one feels alone in their fight.
In addition to the pandemic, our country has also faced the challenges associated with social injustice, creating a need for change and increased awareness. BRF has made a commitment to increase our understanding of the diverse needs of the families that we serve so that we can make the greatest impact on all families. We have formed a Diversity, Respect, Equity, and Inclusion committee that is made up of a knowledgeable group of individuals who have already made steps toward reaching our goals.
Although this year has been a whirlwind, it has reinforced my belief that people are good and that when we all work together, we can make a difference. I have no doubt that Diane is looking down on us today with great pride and satisfaction. I’m grateful to all of you who have given your time, talents, and efforts to support families in their time of need.
Be well and stay safe,
Mary Ellen Fitzgerald