United Breast Cancer Foundation Pampers and Empowers Patients and Survivors at “Gifts of Comfort and Hope” Event in Rhode Island

May 10, 2024

Comfort Delivered, Hope Ignited: United Breast Cancer Foundation Provides More Than $1.8 Million in Donated Gifts and Mattresses to Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors

WARWICK, R.I., May 10, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — United Breast Cancer Foundation (UBCF) is overjoyed to celebrate the incredible success of its “Gifts of Comfort and Hope” Mattress & Pink Bag Event, held on April 27 at the welcoming Warwick Mall in Rhode Island. This heartwarming event, overflowing with generosity and camaraderie, served nearly 250 breast cancer patients and survivors, distributed over 150 luxurious and therapeutic queen size mattresses, and gifted an incredible $1.8+ million worth of donated items. The Mattress & Pink Bag Event was more than just gifting helpful and supportive items, it ignited a renewed spirit of hope, and delivered a powerful message to those affected by breast cancer – they are not alone on this journey.

A breast cancer diagnosis can profoundly change a person’s world in an instant; the weight of the news leaves a trail of fear and uncertainty. The journey ahead or reflection as a survivor requires immense strength and courage. UBCF’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer, and aims to ease some of the burdens. The “Gifts of Comfort and Hope” Mattress & Pink Bag Event provided an opportunity to pamper breast cancer patients and survivors. Warriors came out with family, friends, caregivers and loved ones to enjoy the day. Loved ones who were witness to disease, treatment and suffering finally got to witness pleasure and celebration for a change.

For nearly two weeks leading up to the event, UBCF’s dedicated staff travelled from around the country, put in long hours and poured their hearts into preparations on site. The turnout was amazing, and the Mattress & Pink Bag Event was a seamless, unforgettable experience for the breast cancer patients and survivors in attendance.

Stephanie Mastroianni, UBCF’s Executive Director, driven by her mother’s memory and a desire to bring comfort and support to breast cancer patients and survivors exclaimed, “There is a lot of love here. It’s nice to bring people together and it’s all walks of life because, you know, cancer has no bounds. The event brings them together and what they’ve been through, so it feels good to bring a sense of community. The gifts of comfort, that’s a bonus, that’s the draw. It’s what makes people show up, but I think it’s the exchanging communication with each other that makes all the difference. Those are the priceless things that matter.” She continues, “The tangible things are what brings them here, but I think they leave with a whole different sense in their heart and soul.”

As attendees arrived, they were greeted with friendly smiles and warm embraces. UBCF’s Savannah Whitlatch was part of the welcoming committee and a face that many recognized. Like all of the UBCF staff, Savannah put in days on end of hard work in preparation for the event. Savannah reflected on the profound impact of the event, describing moments of connection and gratitude shared by attendees. She shared this experience, “At one point, I needed a moment, just a few minutes to gather myself. I didn’t walk but two to three steps before a lady approached me and said that on her darkest days, she finds joy watching my videos on Facebook. I was like, oh my heart!” Despite the challenges of organizing such a large-scale event, Savannah found fulfillment in witnessing the transformative effect it had on participants, offering her a newfound perspective on life’s blessings.

Filled with anticipation and the hope of finally receiving a comfortable, restorative night’s rest, the vehicles lined up on that beautiful Saturday morning. Volunteers and moving specialists were ready to load up over 150 restorative, supportive mattresses gifted to awaiting attendees. These gifts, symbolizing not just a restful night’s sleep but a foundation for healing, were met with tearful expressions of gratitude and profound appreciation. The practicality of the mattresses was intertwined with a deeper message of dignity and self-care. Each mattress recipient received a Pink Bag filled with specially selected gifts including a set of queen-sized sheets for their newly acquired mattresses along with a luxurious bathrobe, slippers and a beautiful thermal mug.

“Thank you so much for the event last Saturday. It was incredible of all the fabulous free items. I am thoroughly enjoying the comfortable mattress! The food was delicious too. Betty, my personal shopper, made the event extra special! She was sweet, kind & helpful. All the workers that I interacted with were also nice; especially the men who helped carry the items to the vehicle. I was teary eyed by the end,” thanked Mattress recipient, Helen. “Thanks for the support! It’s comforting to know that there are so many special people there supporting those affected with breast cancer.”

Meanwhile at the Pink Bag Shopping Event outside, individuals had the unique opportunity to choose from a diverse selection of quality gifts, including brand name sneakers, weighted blankets, pampering makeup and personal care products, household goods, toys, and children’s items to share with little ones. Personal Shopper Volunteers escorted attendees to gather, document, and provide a more individualized experience for selecting items that helped with personal journey with breast cancer. Carts were overflowing with delightful items to make each warrior feel spoiled. The thoughtful selection of goods available highlighted the importance of prioritizing oneself during this challenging time. Newport Creamery ice cream treats provided added an indulgent touch for everyone to enjoy during the event.

Joyce attended the event and expressed her gratitude, “I just wanted to let you know that what you do for breast cancer [patients] is incredible. I entered and surprisingly was selected to participate. I am beside myself with gratitude for everything that was donated and the compassion of the participants that helped all the patients. I never thought I would feel like a kid again at Christmas. Yet, here I am living my best life and dealing with breast cancer. I can’t thank you enough. And no words could ever communicate my appreciation for what you did for me…. Love to you all.”

The last stop of the day created a sanctuary for shared experiences. Attendees were welcomed to the dedicated lounge area inside the mall for specially prepared snacks and a place to rest after a busy day. Thoughtfully furnished for relaxation and conversation, the lounge became a haven for attendees – a space where shared stories and laughter intermingled. Here, people from all walks of life, united by their experiences with breast cancer, found solace and strength in each other’s company. Tears mingled with moments of joy and camaraderie, creating a powerful sense of togetherness.

Donna Meehan, UBCF’s Grant Programs Specialist, mingled with warriors in the lounge, many of whom she had bonded with through phone conversations during the application process. Trying to hold back her tears, Donna said sincerely, “To meet face to face and be able to hug and hold each other’s hands and let them know that we genuinely care about them. It’s a blessing to be on this side of things. To be a part of a team that genuinely cares, and this event was just amazing, and it was amazing to be a part of it.” She summed up the day overall, “I can’t think of any way to make it any more amazing other than if we’d had fireworks. That’s about the only way you could have topped this event.”

Overwhelming, in a good way, was the word of choice for the honored guests. Many shared how they are not used to receiving so many gifts, and how they are used to being the giver. UBCF’s aim for the “Gifts of Comfort and Hope” Event was to give to these brave women – one day to spoil and honor them.

“Thank you so much for the event today. You made my mom’s day so extremely special, and she so deserved this day. I cannot thank you enough on how you made her feel today. It is the caring and compassionate selfless people in your organization that truly brightened up my mom’s day and her spirit. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen her so happy and celebrating a day all about her was amazing. Thank you again for all that you do,” proclaimed Marie regarding her mother Rosemarie.

The event wasn’t just about receiving gifts; it was a celebration of life and strength. For many attendees, this was their first chance to connect with others who understood their struggles, a chance to laugh, cry, and celebrate their journeys together. The event became a testament to the human spirit’s ability to find strength and connection in the face of adversity.

The UBCF staff ensured a seamless and supportive experience for all attendees. The Mattress & Pink Bag Event was a resounding success, radiating hope and fostering a sense of community. It provided attendees with the resources they need to navigate their journeys, the inspiration to face challenges head-on, and the knowledge that they are not alone. The event ignited a spark of hope, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is strength in community.

The success of the event was made possible by the dedication of volunteers, the generosity of sponsors, and the support of the Warwick community. From local businesses lending equipment to volunteers offering their time and compassion, every contribution played a vital role in creating a day of relief, renewal, and inspiration. A big thank you to Warwick Mall for providing the space and security team services to host the event and to the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation for help with spreading the word and recruiting volunteers. Thank you to All My Sons for being an integral part of distributing the mattresses and helping to load vehicles. Thank you to PeopleReady for the support staff. UBCF would also like to thank the following retailers for providing shopping carts, shelving and hangers for the Pink Bag Shopping Event: TargetJC PenneyNordstrom RackOld NavyShaw’s Grocery Store, and Stop and Shop. Thank you to Newport Creamery for the providing the delicious ice cream treats that were enjoyed by all. Pranzi Catering provided delightful hors d’oeuvres for the guest attendees in the lounge area and the tent for the shopping event. The entire crew was grateful for the lunch provided by Pizza Bella. Thank you to Build-A-Bash for the festive balloon decorations. UBCF is grateful for Luke Rechan Entertainment and Nicholas van der Wal for capturing special moments and highlights from the event. UBCF is looking forward to collaborating with more partners and bring more events to the region in the future.

The “Gifts of Comfort and Hope” event extends beyond the attendees themselves. It serves as a beacon of hope for the broader community, raising awareness about breast cancer and inspiring others to get involved in the fight. The generosity of donors, the tireless efforts of volunteers, and the collaborative spirit between organizations all contributed to the event’s success. This ripple effect of compassion has the power to make a lasting difference in the lives of those impacted by breast cancer.

About UBCF
United Breast Cancer Foundation is a non-profit founded in 2000 with a mission to make a positive difference in the lives of those impacted by breast cancer. UBCF is committed to gifting helpful and supportive donated items and funding breast health and wellness services focused on education, screening, treatment, recovery, and wellness. The platinum rated4-star charity offers numerous life-supporting patient and family programs available to women, men, and families nationwide. Tax-deductible contributions (consult your tax advisor) may be made towards UBCF’s programs. UBCF accepts contributions through Donor Advised Funds and vehicle and property donations as well. Combined Federal Campaign #77934.

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About UBCF

UBCF is committed to offering breast health and wellness services focused on cancer prevention, screening, treatment and overall wellness. UBCF’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer and carries it out through seven life-supporting patient and family programs available to women, men and families nationwide. UBCF never denies services to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, income or medical insurance coverage. Tax-deductible contributions may be made towards UBCF’s programs. UBCF accepts vehicle and property donations as well. Combined Federal Campaign #77934

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