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Maureen's Hope beneficiary of Long Island parade

"When my sister was battling cancer, it was all those little acts of kindness and support from others that truly made the difference," Bertrand said. "When she passed away in 2003 at the young age of 31, I couldn't take what I had learned from that experience and just tuck it away in a drawer. I started the foundation with a heartfelt passion and through the past five years, we have helped hundreds

of people."

Maureen's Hope aims to offer support and assistance to people facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis or life altering disease. Assistance includes providing meals from Liehs & Steigerwalds during treatment times, cleaning services for patients' homes and personalized baskets of hope and inspiration. The foundation will also provide Easter baskets to children at University Hospital again this spring.

"Our focus is today and how we can help make your journey during an illness a little easier," Bertrand said.

Inspiring the community

Bertrand recently opened a co-op at Cottage Designs in Baldwinsville, which among other items features pieces found in her baskets of hope. Proceeds from all sales go directly to the foundation. Featured items include inspirational jewelry, "Power of Hope" bracelets (wooden bracelets made by Maureen's Hope youth club) and angel designs.

"We're all about the angels," Susan said. "Everything is inspirational."

In addition to jewelry, robes and angels, the store also features paintings by Anne Horan, Susan and Maureen's mother.

"To paint and donate is a gift for her," Bertrand said. "My favorite painting is one she did of an angel reaching out to a dove. It's very meaningful and a beautiful symbol of hope."

The store, located at 25 Syracuse St. in the village, is open Tuesday through Saturday. Most items are $20 or less.

"We also have a selection of our bracelets available at Shear Forte salon on Oswego Road in Liverpool," Bertrand said.

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