For the past 10 years (2010-2020), the StringsforaCURE Foundation helped over 2,068 breast cancer patients, distributing over $466,314 to these patients through our programs. At the end of September 2020, after celebrating 10 years of serving the breast cancer community on August 19th, it is with a heavy heart that our founder Elisa Guida, along with StringsforaCURE board members, Patti Larson, Brenda Berchtold and Donna Rose Sherrange, have made the difficult decision to dissolve our 501(c)(3) charitable organization. We are NOT closing StringsforaCURE due to a lack of funds. We are not a Covid Casualty; this decision was made over a year and a half ago, long before the Covid-19 pandemic.
By the time we dissolve the 501(c)(3), we will have provided close to half a million dollars to breast cancer patients and their families, through our many financial assistance programs both locally and nationally. This is really a time to celebrate what this small breast cancer charity has accomplished during those 10 years!
We would like to thank everyone who has supported our mission over the years. Without you, we would not have been able to help so many breast cancer patients. Everyone who has been involved with the StringsforaCURE Foundation should be very proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the years. This is a time to celebrate! Like everything in life, we have to do what is best, because it is time to do so.
What very few have known is that our founder, Elisa Guida, a two-time breast cancer survivor, has also been the full-time caregiver of her sweet mom, Mary, who is 97 years old. It is time for Elisa to concentrate on providing care for her mom as her only full -time endeavor. While there are no regrets, we are saddened to report that Elisa’s dear mom Mary passed on April, 19, 2021, with Elisa and Ed by her side.
For those wondering what the future holds for the StringsforaCURE® jewelry, Elisa Guida, a jewelry designer for over 45 years, will continue to design one-of-a-kind earrings, necklaces and bracelets from guitar strings donated by famous musicians and a portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to an existing breast cancer charity. Every quarter, Elisa will pick a breast cancer charity to donate a portion of the proceeds from the jewelry sales. To date, Elisa made donations to: Breastcancer.org, Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Pink Fund.
The StringsforaCURE® Foundation’s Programs that are supported by the $2500.00 Tutu grant of the Carey Foundation are for our Medical Assistance Grants and our Living Expense Grants. StringsforaCURE offers these grants to men and women diagnosed with breast cancer who live within a 60-mile radius of Erie, PA. StringsforaCURE awards up to $1500 per patient. Patients are allowed to apply for either a Medical Grant or Living Expense Grant, but not both. They usually work with a Healthcare provider who assists them with the application. We have defined guidelines that the StringsforaCURE Board of Directors follows during the review process. Once we are satisfied that all requirements are met, the board members vote on the application.
Here are some stories from patients who have received a grant from StringsforaCURE. Based on their stories, we know that there is a need for these StringsforaCURE Grant Programs.
Debra Brown from Sandy Lake, PA was our most recent Living Expense recipient. She received a $1,463.00 Living Expense Grant to cover 7 of her car payments of $209.00 each, every other week from December 2017 through February 2018.
Here is Debra’s story: StringsforaCURE has really been a God send program for me. I have struggled over the last few months with my car payments being every two weeks and not working and fighting the struggle of breast cancer and being weak and not being up to par. This foundation is a blessing. I would so recommend it to my family and friends if they find out that they have breast cancer. I really didn’t know what I was going to do, because I would have lost my car and my way to get around if it wasn’t for StringsforaCURE. Thank you all so much for your help. God bless you all.
Debbie Chace from Conneaut Lake, PA received a Living Expense Grant this past September in the amount of $1285.00. The Living Expense grant covered Debbie’s September car insurance, September and October rent payments and September, October and November fuel payments.
Here is Debbie’s story: I want to thank StringsforaCURE for the support and help you have given me, there are no words to express how much it means to me. I have been a nurse’s aide for 40 some years and I love what I do. When I was diagnosed in February and had to have emergency surgery, I was so overwhelmed. I am use to working all my life, it was hard for me financially, to have to stop right not. I want to say God Bless you all. I always say God has angels on earth to help those who need help in time of need. It took a lot of pressure from me. God Bless you and I do tell everyone about the help StringsforaCURE has given. It means so much to me. Thank you and God bless you all.
Sheri L. Hoban from Meadville, PA received a $1500 Medical Grant this past August. Sherri had multiple unpaid medical bills from the Meadville Medical Center and we applied our $1500 grant to her medical bills.
Here is Sheri’s story: Thank you so much for helping my family. Without your help I don’t know how I would pay all of my medical bills. The ironic thing is that your organization raises money by using guitar strings to make jewelry. As a lover of Christian music, I think what you do is the work of God. Thank you so much and may God bless you and your organization. I will sleep well knowing that there are still good people in the world.
We also receive many thank you cards from patients that the StringsforaCURE Foundation has helped, all of which get posted on our website under “Music to Our Ears”. We are an unfunded charity that relies solely on donations from the public and from corporations and we really appreciate being part of the Tutu Project of the Carey Foundation family. This allows us to continue to provide financial assistance DIRECTLY to the breast cancer patient, since that is who needs it the most.
This is the perfect time to reflect on the StringsforaCURE® Foundation. A few years after my second breast cancer diagnosis, I came up with the idea of helping breast cancer patients by transforming famous musician’s guitars strings into jewelry. Sitting on the idea for a few years and knowing life would be forever changed, I embarked on turning the StringsforaCURE Foundation into a 501(c)(3) charity in 2010. The vision was always to provide help directly to breast cancer patients. In the beginning, it was through gas, grocery and pharmacy gift cards. As we continued to raise more funds for our Programs, we began to add programs, such as our Medical Assistance Grants and Living Expense grants to name a few. In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined that in 7 short years StringsforaCURE would have reached a milestone of a Quarter Million Dollars given directly to breast cancer patients through our Programs that provide financial assistance and emotional support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. On December 6, 2017 we just celebrated that Quarter Million Milestone with our many loyal supporters!
A few years ago, our paths crossed with the Tutu Project of the Carey Foundation through the magic of social media, Instagram to be exact. We are so glad this happened. The StringsforaCURE Foundation received a $7500 grant in 2016 and is receiving a $2500 grant in 2017. The funds are used for our Medical Grant and Living Expense Grant Programs. These grants are awarded to breast cancer patients who live within a 60 mile radius of Erie, PA. If they qualify, they can receive up to $1500.
If the patient is awarded a grant from StringsforaCURE, they are required to submit a comment answering our question: Let us know how you benefitted from this grant?
The words of Linda Webb say it all and why we know that the StringsforaCURE Foundation is making a difference. Linda was awarded an $1100.00 Living Expense Grant from StringsforaCURE to help with her October and November rent payments of $550.00 each.
Here is Linda’s story:
There are several words in the English language that can terrify a person. The word that scared me was the word CANCER. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. I immediately thought that my life was over. Who would help me financially, socially, medically and personally? I gave up hope and then found out that there are special people out there who know what I am going through and are willing to help in whatever way they can. StringsforaCURE was a Godsend that showed up in one of the lowest times. What a blessing to know that someone has gone through what I am experiencing and is still thriving, but also that person has taken on a commitment to help others. I know I am not alone in my battle and the word CANCER has lost some of its power. Thank you for caring and helping others. You have inspired me to keep on fighting. Instead of giving up hope, I now see that hope through you.
If there is anything I can do to help others, I want to do that. Thank you for showing me how to turn something bad into something good.
It is patients like Linda that keep on inspiring the StringsforaCURE Foundation to continue on with their mission. We thank the Tutu Project of the Carey Foundation for believing in our mission.
A Cancerversary can be bittersweet. You think about everyone you have met along the way and wonder why you have made it through 2 bouts with breast cancer.
Doesn’t seem possible that 20 years ago today, life was changed forever. I was faced with my first breast cancer diagnosis, so young, so shocked, no lump!
When my cancer came back 10 years later, again no lump, it took a piece of me, for better or worse.
Never asking “Why me?” I ask “What am I supposed to be doing regarding this disease?”
My answer was revealed in 2008 while attending a Bon Jovi concert when my love for art and music merged with an idea of giving back to those battling cancer. Fast forward to this 20 year Cancerversary, watching this idea come full circle when I founded the StringsforaCURE® Foundation in August 2010. It became a 501(c)(3) charity in the summer of 2012. I thought fighting cancer was a battle, little did I know what lied ahead with the challenges of SFAC becoming a 501 (c)(3) charity.
One way that we fundraise is by getting famous musicians to donate their used guitar strings. I design jewelry and 100% of the net proceeds help fund StringsforaCURE’s programs. Our main program is our gift card program and in my wildest dreams I never would have imagined that SFAC would have helped over 708 cancer patients, giving over $108,165 directly to these patients, many who are battling breast cancer. The charity that I founded gives out $100 gas, grocery and pharmacy gift cards to provide a lift to the patient and some well needed financial assistance. We also give out Medical Grants, comfort baskets and educational and inspirational books.
I reflect on those who gave their life to this disease and pray that one day, when I am still here, that I get to see some type of CURE for this Cancer curse, which for me turned into a blessing. In the meantime, I will do my best to help those in their daily challenges with this disease.