Sep 09, 2009 Erin Smith Uncategorized
Susan Bertrand has helped numerous individuals living with or recovering from cancer.
After losing her sister Maureen to cancer six years ago, Bertrand formed Maureen’s Hope Foundation, a not-for-profit that helps cancer patients in a variety of ways.
“Our mission is to help offer practical support and assistance to people facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis or life altering disease,” Bertrand said.
Since her sister passed, Bertrand’s foundation has helped more than 520 people in the community in a variety of ways: providing a cleaning service for their homes during treatment; meals for their family from Lieh & Steigerwalds; wigs when patients have lost their hair; and baskets.
“Every person has been given one of our baskets filled with items of hope, comfort and inspiration designed specifically with that persons needs and interests in mind,” Bertrand said.
Bertrand has now found a new way to help those in need.
“Over the years I have met many teens and young adults that struggle with weight loss or weight gain after a cancer diagnosis and the rough road of treatments,” Bertrand said. “For many, fitness and wellness is a big concern because treatments often cause weight gain or weight loss along with fatigue that can last for months. I wanted to find a way to reach out to people and encourage and inspire them to take time for themselves to exercise, and to make it simple.”
For this reason, Bertrand developed fitness care packages to be given to teen and adult patients.
“Beginning an exercise program can help you regain control of your life after a cancer diagnosis and the rough road of treatments. Exercise can improve your mood, boost your self-confidence and help to reduce fatigue,” she said.
To help develop the fitness care packages, Bertrand enlisted the help of Jay Morgan and Bryan Morgan of Dynamics Health & Fitness of Liverpool.
“I chose Dynamic Health & Fitness because of their emphasis on achieving the mental, spiritual and physical benefits,” Bertrand said. “Jay and Bryan have dedicated their lives to coaching people in achieving their health and fitness dreams and hopefully combining our passions will help fill a need that I know is out there.”
The bags, which will be distributed through University Hospital and Maureen’s Hope Foundation, contain a video DVD, audio CD and training manual each designed by DHF, in addition to a free membership to DHF online personal training. Valued at $120, the bags also contain a journal, stainless steel water bottle, jump rope, bracelet and inspiration quote book, “I Believe in You.”
“The fitness packages will be distributed to oncology patients that have finished treatment, expressed an interest and obtained clearance from their doctors to begin an exercise program,” Bertrand said adding there are 25 bags ready for distribution in mid-September. “Our reason for staring this program is very simple it’s because we care.”
In addition to the fitness care packages, Maureen’s Hope also sponsors a speaking engagement once or twice a year for people in the community that are cancer survivors, people currently going through treatment or for those facing a life altering disease other than cancer.
“We try to offer these ‘Evenings of Inspiration’ once or twice a year as way to bring people together with the hopes they leave feeling a bit more motivated, educated and confidant,” Bertrand said. “I believe that sharing hope and inspiration is a priceless gift and I also place great value in kindness from a stranger. There is also strength in numbers and when people come to a meeting and see the faces of 50 to 60 people that have walked in similar shoes, it brings them a sense of camaraderie.”
The next event will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 30 at Hematology-Oncology Associates. The presenter will be Bryan Morgan of DHF, who will focus on fitness and wellness specifically balance and posture with practical applications as well as functional stretching and proper training. The event includes a light dinner and refreshments.
For reservations, contact Bertrand at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 303-510.
“[This event] is open to anyone in the community that has been touched by cancer or a life altering disease,” Bertrand said.
About Maureen’s Hope
Maureen’s Hope Foundation is a 501(c)3 not for profit funded through donations, corporate sponsorships and grants. The organization also sells a line of inspirational bracelets at Cottage Designs in Baldwinsville and Shear Forte in Liverpool with all proceeds benefiting the foundation. The foundation has given spring baskets to children spending Easter at University Hospital, has started an art program at University Hospital and has a Maureen’s Hope Youth Club consisting of high school students in ninth through 12th grades, which has grown to about 80 members.
“The kids do many awesome projects and offer direct assistance to people in our community,” Bertrand said.
The foundation has also awarded a $1,000 scholarship for the past two years to a graduating student at Baker High School through the Baldwinsville Community Scholarship Foundation.
“Our most recent fundraiser was a charity golf tournament held Aug. 15 and hosted by the Belgium Cold Springs Fire Department. They included Maureen’s Hope in their annual Ray Smiley Golf Tournament as a way to raise funds for our foundation as well as the fire department,” Bertrand said. “I was very grateful to Rich Lesniak and the entire fire department for showing us their support — it was an awesome event. That’s a small sampling of why I love living in Baldwinsville.”
For more information about the foundation, visit maureenshope.org.
Susan Bertrand (left), founder of Maureen’s Hope Foundation, has developed fitness care packages (pictured) for recovering cancer patients with the help of Dynamics Health & Fitness founders Jay Morgan (center) and Bryan Morgan. The care packages will be distributed to University Hospital patients later this month.