Over the past 19 years, the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk ( BBCW) has raised more than $5.5 million to support Little Company of Mary Hospital’s (LCMH) award-winning Comprehensive Breast Health Center and impacted the lives of thousands of breast cancer survivors. With generous community support, the BBCW has been able to sustain its support of current breast health programming and continue deepening its impact with the establishment of a BBCW Crisis Fund to assist LCMH breast cancer patients with emergent financial needs within our community. Now, the impact of these efforts is reaching poverty-stricken breast cancer patients hundreds of miles away.
For the past two years, a portion of the BBCW proceeds also have supported a “sister-walk” partnership with the international organization, People Helping People, bringing much-needed medical equipment, supplies and services to breast cancer patients in El Salvador.
The BBCW group was introduced to Lisselot Troconis, executive director of People Helping People of El Salvador, through a mutual friend in 2015. In December of 2015, Carol Moriarty, BBCW founder, embarked on her first trip to El Salvador to experience first-hand what People Helping People does.
After returning from this initial trip, Moriarty knew that this collaboration between faith-based organization People Helping People and the BBCW was meant to be.
“When we met Lisselot we were immediately awe-inspired by her and this incredible organization,” said Moriarty. “It aligns so much with the mission of our BBCW and it really is about people helping people, and helping them to have the resources to be able to help themselves.”
In 2017, Troconis was able to travel to Chicago to attend and participate in the 18th annual BBCW, speaking on stage alongside the BBCW Committee and helping to kick-off the day. Then, in March of this year, BBCW founders Moriarty and Lisa O’Brien, along with BBCW committee member Erin Hosty, traveled together to El Salvador to support this organization for a third year and to participate in the BBCW “sister walk.”
“We work hands-on with the People Helping People team, and our efforts are targeted to the specific needs of breast cancer patients in El Salvador, including doctor exams, immunotherapy testing kits, specialized chemotherapy and more,” said O’Brien. “What is even more special is that we see how the funds directly impact these women, and participating in the walk this year as one group really brought everything full circle.”
“These women are truly just so grateful,” said Hosty. “We let them know that when there is nowhere for them to turn, we are there and we will get through it together.”
Approximately 500 people participated in the 2018 El Salvador “sister walk” in March for its third annual breast cancer walk. Moriarty, O’Brien and Hosty even brought a flare of the BBCW to El Salvador, complete with music, jugglers and a sea of pink.
“Who would have dreamed 19 years ago that these founding women would today not only walk with more than 14,000 friends, but also be able to expand their efforts far beyond our community?” said Brian Lepacek, MDiv, Executive Director of the Little Company of Mary Hospital Foundation. “Nineteen years is living proof that if we join hands and talents together, we can make a difference – and save lives.”
“We are so grateful to the people of the Beverly community who have embraced our mission and values and have supported us for the past 19 years for helping make this extension of the BBCW a reality,” said Moriarty.