WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Not often do you find positives during a discussion about breast cancer. The growing number of diagnosed cases alone can lead many patients into a mind-set filled with negative thoughts.
When Renee Ballard and Connie Hill walked their journey of breast cancer together in 2004, they could not find spiritual support to go along with the pamphlets, technical books and other resources available to patients.
They decided to fill that void, and "Lump to Laughter" was born.
"Renee and I would look at each other all the time and say ‘we need to help women get from their lump to their laughter'" said Connie. "Somehow it just stuck."
The two women founded the non-profit group of the same name in 2005. At first, the ministry met in a small neighborhood clubhouse. When Renee lost her battle on Good Friday in 2009, Connie came up with the idea to hold a charity golf tournament in Renee's honor on Good Friday every year.
The first tournament in 2012 raised about $1,000. This year's event has already raised roughly $5,000, and the numbers could go even higher, allowing the group to help even more patients battling breast cancer.
"We send Hope Packages to newly diagnosed women and we have sent roughly 45 per year," Connie said. "We offer an Angel Fund to assist women in financial need during treatment. We started our Angel Fund in full force about two years ago and have helped roughly 30 women in the area. We helped pay all expenses for six months for a single mother who became unemployed shortly after being diagnosed. Typically we pay rent, car payments, utility bills or help with purchases that insurance will not cover or pay their co-pays during treatment."
With several organizations reaching out to patients during their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, Connie does not fear duplicating services that others may be providing.
"No one draws a salary and none of the funds raised are used to pay for research. Our mission is to serve and help make life a little better for those in treatment so they can focus on their treatments instead of having to make a decision whether to pay for a treatment or a power bill. We also offer an online presence that no other organization does. Visit our website and you will leave encouraged and filled with hope," Connie Hill said.
If you are interested in becoming part of the volunteer efforts of "Lump to Laughter", or even sign up to play in the golf tournament on March 29, you can call Connie Hill at (910) 617-4455.
Click here to visit the group's website.
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