To better acquaint our members and the greater community with our grantees, we are highlighting some of the nonprofit organizations that have received WGC grants. This quarter, we talked to Vicki Weldon, CEO of Team H.O.P.E, a new WGC grantee in 2020. Vicki has been with Team H.O.P.E. since its founding in 2008. Vicki's daughter led the organization for the first four years, after losing her mother-in-law to breast cancer and seeing VIcki through her own journey with breast cancer. In November 2011, Team H.O.P.E. received 501(c)(3) non-profit designation and established partnerships with The Frederick County Health Department, Dr. Julian Choe, Michelle Cooper, CRNP, and Community Radiology Associates.
What is the mission of the organization, and what personally moves you about that mission?
Our mission is to ensure that no woman or man in Frederick County who is either uninsured or under-insured will ever have to go without a clinical breast exam or any needed imaging in the detection or prevention of breast cancer. I am the main contact for anyone needing assistance and care through Team Hope. I’m so greatly moved by the tremendous appreciation of the women and men who reach out to me for care and their incredible relief and surprise to find that there are no forms, no red tape, just a simple call to me, followed by a call directly to either Dr. Choe or Michelle Cooper who provide a clinical breast exam, schedule them immediately for any needed imaging and then provide any follow-up care, with all costs being covered by Team Hope.
What are the most significant challenges that the organization is facing right now? What are the most significant challenges faced by the clients/populations that you serve?
Due to Covid-19, Team Hope had to cancel our 2020 Annual Fundraiser where we raise an average of $40,000. Our next Annual Fundraiser will not be until October 2021, so we are facing a huge challenge in raising funds in order to continue to provide care through our partners for women in need.
The most significant challenge faced by women and men is finding immediate care if they do not fall within the guidelines for eligibility through the Frederick County Health Department’s BCCP Program (Breast and Cervical Cancer) which has an age requirement of 40-64 and low-income guidelines. It was due to these program limitations that Team Hope established our non-profit in order to capture anyone who was not eligible for care.
What is the nature of the Giving Circle grant that you received for 2020, and what impact will it have on women and their dependents in Frederick?
The $10,000 grant received from the Women’s Giving Circle in 2020 was such a tremendous blessing and will help Team Hope to continue to fund our partners who are providing the much-needed care for patients referred to Team Hope, which has become a safety net for women who are not eligible for care through the Frederick County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
Do you have any specific “stories” that you can share with us that illustrate what you are doing in the community?
A young woman, age 39 ½ was referred to Team Hope. She had no insurance and was too young to be eligible for care through BCCP. She had an urgent need for a breast biopsy. With one phone call, she received immediate care and was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She had later been told by her doctor, had it not been for Team Hope and she had to wait another 6 months in order to be eligible for care through BCCP, he felt certain she would not have survived. Today, she is cancer-free, married, and very happy.
Is there anything further that members of the Giving Circle can do to help, in terms of volunteering, in-kind donations, etc?
Team Hope has an ongoing need for support from other organizations, local businesses, and individuals in our community in order to keep up with the increasing need for care. Grants provide a tremendous amount of support, but individual donations can make a significant difference. Donations can be made through our website at www.teamhopefrederick.org.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Team Hope would not be possible without the support of our friends, family, local businesses, and amazing organizations like the Women’s Giving Circle of Frederick. Year to date 2020, we have donated $209,500 to our partners and cared for more than 1,262 women in Frederick County. Together We Are Team Hope.