By Joan Slowey Dellett ~
What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for one another? – George Elliot
Twenty-five years ago, five women whose lives were being touched by breast cancer in some way pondered that same question. What could they do to help not just the people they knew, but others who struggled with the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer?
Those women banded together and brought to life JUST US GIRLS, the only non-profit organization that directly advocates for women and men in Monmouth and Ocean Counties who have been traumatized by a breast cancer diagnosis. Social workers in Monmouth and Ocean County hospitals identify breast cancer patients in need. JUST US GIRLS then presents these patients with a check, flowers, a mission statement, and a healing card. The checks are not large but usually come at a time when a patient may be struggling to make ends meet because of their illness. The monetary gifts that JUST US GIRLS provide have allowed those who have been identified as having breast cancer to pay their rent, make a mortgage payment, stay home from work a little longer, pay auto insurance, put a down payment on a used car and to even buy school clothes or Christmas presents for their children.
Since its inception, JUST US GIRLS has assisted over 800 women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer through the profits of their main fundraiser – an annual race/walk held each year in October. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 26th at the Sea Girt Army Camp at 9:30 am.
Registration can be done online at JustUsGirls.net or at the Manasquan Elks on Thursday, October 24 from 5-8:00 pm.
Following the race, a free breakfast buffet will be served, also at the Manasquan Elks at 17 Stockton Lake Boulevard.
In addition to their main fundraiser, JUST US GIRLS also seeks out corporate sponsorships to help sustain their commitment to breast cancer patients. Overhead for the annual race exceeds $35,000. Any assistance helps to defray the administrative costs of the event, making it possible to provide even more assistance to breast cancer victims locally. Tax-deductible donations are publicly acknowledged and can be designated to several categories, including commemorative tee shirts, hats, insurance coverage, medical expenses, scholarships, banners, educational materials or individual grants to breast cancer survivors.
Since 2003, JUST US GIRLS has also offered a scholarship program to provide funds to college-age students who have been impacted by breast cancer.
One hundred percent of profits are returned to the community through individual financial awards and annual scholarships. JUST US GIRLS is comprised of fifteen women who volunteer their time and energy to the organization so there are no administrative costs.
The initial desire to make their friends and family lives “less difficult” has grown into a compassionate organization giving back to their local community in a big way.
For more information, go to JustUsGirls.net or call Gerri at 732-840-9063 or Kathy at 732-449-3626. Want to help out the day of the race? Call Liz at the Volunteer Hotline at 732-895-7993.