Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Beguelin.
Hi Stephanie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In September of 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 41, with three young children – and no family history of this disease. We were shocked, dumbfounded~ as most people are when they hear those words, and little did we know that this disease would change our lives like it has…
Based on my medical team’s suggestions, I had a double mastectomy, chemo, followed by six weeks of radiation. I completed my treatment between UNC Rex and UNC Lineberger Cancer Center in 2011. During my first chemo session, which was one of the longest days of my life, I overheard the charge nurse say that the other patient receiving an infusion beside me didn’t have a ride home, the buses were no longer running (it was almost 8pm) and they didn’t know what they were going to do with her. I remember crying all the way home and telling my husband, Eric, that we have to do something to help….we just didn’t know what that was going to be.
At first, we created an organization focusing on Breast Cancer Awareness. We wanted women talking to their friends and family about self-exams and mammograms. Our name was “1 in 9” as that was the statistic of women that would be diagnosed in their lifetime. We had no idea that the instance was so high.
But we wanted to do more. We talked with my Nurse Navigator and Surgical Oncologist who shared stories of women that were sleeping in their cars to receive radiation treatment as it is five days/wk and they didn’t have money for gas. Other stories of women stopping their cancer treatment altogether because they couldn’t put food on the table or diapers on their babies. At this point, we decided to work with UNC Lineberger’s Patient and Family Resource Center and the Social Work Team. The team would identify patients that were in financial crisis, refer them to “1in9” and we would assist with gas cards, groceries, or by providing rent assistance.
In 2011, our first year, we helped 25 breast cancer patients at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since that time, we have continued to expand our reach by partnering with additional hospitals like UNC Rex in Raleigh and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. In 2017 we changed our name to “1 of Us” and now are able to provide support to not only breast cancer patients but also gynecological cancer patients.
This year we will celebrate our 10th year providing financial support and advocacy for patients and their families. We are grateful to this community because their support has allowed us to serve over 3000 patients with over $650,000 in rent, food, gas, transportation (and many other needs) so that patients can complete treatment.
One of my favorite quotes is from Desmond Tutu and I believe it with all of my heart… “Do a little bit of good where you are.
It is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” And while we may not overwhelm the world, we can certainly strive to do those little bits of good…. <3
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Has it been a smooth road? Not always, but fortunately our path found more smooth roads than rocky ones!
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Currently, I am a wife and a mom to three very busy kids – We have a 17, 15, and a 12 years old. When I’m not “mom” I am working with patients and trying to help them through their cancer journey.
When patients, primarily women, are diagnosed the social workers at UNC Lineberger refer them so that 1ofUs can provide some of the necessary financial support they need to purchase food, provide gas cards so that patients can access quality care, help maintain utilities and offer rent assistance as well. 1ofUs also partners with UNC Rex in Raleigh and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville to provide grants for their breast and gynecological cancer patients. These funds are administered by the financial counselors within those hospitals based on individual needs of the patients in crisis. Our goal is to provide an immediate impact for that patient so that he or she is able to focus on getting better, not whether or not they have these basic needs.
Our 1ofUs team supports our patients by letting them know that we are in the fight with them. We provide patient visits during chemotherapy, radiation, in-home visits and frequent phone calls for mental and physical wellness checks.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
So many people deserve credit for helping bring me and this organization to where it is today…. more than I can even begin to list.
First and foremost, I give thanks to the Lord. For us, we would never have made it without our faith and the ability to have the strength from Christ.
Secondly, my husband, Eric. He has always been my rock and even the bulldozer at times – LOL! He couldn’t “fix” my cancer but needed to do something, so he put the wheels in motion while I was still in treatment to create local awareness and even began soliciting for donations to help offset the costs early on.
My dad, Dr. Steve Scott, has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and mentors my entire life. He taught us to seek out others in need by giving to others first and helping where you can. His words have been a cornerstone of my beliefs since I was a child.
Without our volunteers, we never could have made it this far! Our volunteers have driven patients to and from the hospital, sat with patients during chemo, provided home-cooked meals, shared the Christmas spirit with patients and their children who otherwise would not have had a Christmas, delivered groceries and so much more –all to help others in need.
The 1ofUs Team! We are a small but mighty group. Nesha is our Community Outreach Director and plans all of our events and fundraisers, Liz is our Business Development Director who manages partnerships with our sponsors and donors. The other three of us are volunteers, our Patient and Family Coordinator Robin, our Project Manager, Tanya and me. Without these four incredible ladies, 1ofUs would not be where it is today!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: 1ofus.org
- Instagram: fightfor1ofus
- Facebook: 1 of Us