Tracy Gallagher and Ashleigh Park, both from Mississippi, were diagnosed with cancer in their 40s and underwent a combined 64 rounds of chemotherapy, News Nation reported.
After recovering, the women formed DeSoto Hope, a non-profit organization providing support and encouragement to people just beginning cancer treatments.
The group delivers “Baskets of Hope” to patients, which include items they’ll need as they undergo chemotherapy, such as cream for radiation burns, mouthwash for dry mouth, a soft toothbrush, coloring book, word puzzles and even a journal. What makes the baskets special is they include items the women wish they had when they went through treatment themselves.
“I think that just getting a basket from someone who has been in the same battle as you provides hope because they’ve already come out of the fire. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know anyone,” said Ashleigh, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer. “I didn’t have any living person who could come to me and help hold my hand and walk me through it.”
To finance their endeavor, the women host two fundraisers throughout the year, according to the DeSoto Hope website. They are:
- Light Up the Lake — A drive-thru or walk-thru event to remember cancer fighters who are no longer alive and to honor those who are currently in treatment, in remission or cured.
- A Night of Hope — A semi-formal dinner with a silent auction.
Although Ashleigh and Tracy are not yet over 50, they’ve proven that purpose does not have to be grand to have a tremendous impact on the lives of others. They are committed to helping people living only in DeSoto County, Miss., a community of 161,000, according to Wikipedia.
The other lesson the women provide is that they know through first-hand experience what other people in the same situation really need. That wisdom puts them in a unique position to provide meaningful support to people because they know exactly what the patients have experienced or are about to undergo.
To connect with Ashleigh or Tracy, visit www.desotohope.com. There are links at the website to provide financial support or to purchase items the group can use in creating baskets for others. .
The News Nation video report is available at www.newsnationnow.com.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.