INDIAN TRAIL – Cindy Summers launched the nonprofit Cindy’s Hope Chest in February 2010 with the goal of making life easier for women fighting breast cancer.
Now, more than four years later, the five-year breast cancer survivor is able to live out her dream each day thanks to support from volunteers and donors within the community. But managing a nonprofit in today’s economy is tough, Summers said, which is why the community is uniting for the second annual 100 Challenge for Cindy’s Hope Chest. The challenge is an initiative urging 100 people, groups, businesses or organizations to raise $100 each for Cindy’s Hope Chest in 100 days, for a total of $10,000. The challenge runs through Father’s Day, June 15, a Sunday, and people can donate via a Crowdrise.com
With Mother’s Day approaching, Hemby Bridge resident and fundraiser coordinator Rebecca Shoniker said she’s hoping people will consider donating in honor of their mother.
“I’m hoping some people will take the challenge in honor of Mother’s Day,” Shoniker said. “… The 100 Challenge is the biggest fundraiser that’s ever been done (for Cindy’s Hope Chest), and Cindy is just able to do tremendous things,” thanks to donations.
Shoniker met Summers after a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and received support and services from Cindy’s Hope Chest. The amount of care and compassion Summers showed Shoniker’s friend and her caregivers are what inspired Shoniker to organize last year’s fundraiser, she said.
“When someone (is diagnosed with cancer), everybody says, ‘How can I help?’” Shoniker said. “Cindy sat all those people down and said, ‘Here’s how you can help. Here’s what she’s going to go through. Here’s what she’s going to need.’ … I remember sitting there thinking how amazing it is to have somebody do this.”
Summers meets with her clients’ friends and family members, telling the caregivers what their loved one will go through and how they can help. Other services she and Cindy’s Hope Chest volunteers provide include transportation to and from treatment, child care, lawn care, housekeeping, gift baskets, grocery errands and emotional counseling.
Cindy’s Hope Chest collects wigs and mastectomy bras to provide for clients, as well as funds to help cover treatment costs for families in need. The organization also houses a “day getaway,” which recently moved to a new location near the intersection of Sardis Church Road and U.S. 74 in Indian Trail. Women fighting breast cancer can visit the location to relax, read a book or use its free Wi-Fi.
Summers is constantly looking for ways to expand her organization’s services. She recently started organizing volunteer efforts to make butterfly gardens at the homes of clients who are too sick to leave
“We have a volunteer group that comes out and helps me go to each home, looks to see what (the clients) have … what (we need) to get, and we make that happen,” Summers said. “It’s something we can bring to those who can’t come to my place.”
Cindy’s Hope Chest also was able to pay for a client’s copay for surgery, as well as cover screening and biopsy costs for another client, thanks to funds raised from last year’s 100 Challenge.
But the organization’s needs aren’t limited to financial contributions; Summers needs volunteers to help run Cindy’s Hope Chest, whether it’s helping with an event or soliciting support for the nonprofit. Summers also strives to connect clients with resources when she can’t provide a particular service, and she welcomes people’s knowledge, recommendations or
“If there’s something that these women need that we don’t or can’t do, we try to focus on that, too,” Summer said. “… We try to help them find that place, whether it’s out of state or in state. We want to be there for everything, even if it’s just a resource.”
Donate to the 100 Challenge at www.crowdrise.com/2ndannual100challengeforchc. Learn more about Cindy’s Hope Chest at www.cindyshopechest.org.