Beth Elwood

President and Founder

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Cancer is a disease that has touched all of our lives in some way; whether it is through a friend or loved one being diagnosed with cancer or through our own personal encounter. My life has been profoundly affected by this disease. I fought breast cancer myself in 2006-2007 (you can read more about my own experience here).

Numerous members of my family and friends have battled cancer as well. My mother-in-law had breast cancer, my father and grandmother had melanoma, another grandmother had uterine cancer, one cousin a rare form of liver cancer, another cousin brain cancer; friends have fought colon cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, and I could go on and on.

My own personal journey with breast cancer gave me a deeper appreciation for life; watching my family and friends struggle with this disease filled me with a desire to help not only them, but other cancer survivors as well.

I started by researching non-profits that uplifted cancer survivors and began to assist a couple local charities in the winter of 2013 with their missions. Helping these charities inspired me to form Hearts United Against Cancer, a non-profit whose mission is to deliver comfort and support to men, women, and children going through cancer treatment.

Hearts United Against Cancer’s journey began in July 2014 with my dream and idea; this dream and idea quickly turned into one that was embraced and shared by my husband and friends that make up our board. Turning our dream into a reality has been an amazing journey for all of us and we are very grateful to everyone who has joined our mission and helped us grow as a non-profit.

Patty Lee

Senior Vice President
and Founding Member

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My first personal experience with cancer came in 2001 when my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. He was diagnosed late, so by the time he got treatment, his cancer had already spread. He bravely battled without complaint for about a year before he passed away. Luckily, he was able to meet his grandson before he passed.

Even though my father died of cancer, the disease itself didn’t really make a big impact on me, until a few years later, when my son was in first grade. He came home from school one day and told me one of his friends was very sick and in the hospital. We later found out that his friend had a rare form of cancer. She was only 6 years old. My son was so upset that his friend was sick, and I was upset that someone so young and spirited had a potentially fatal disease. Thankfully, five years later she is cancer free. During this time, my family and I started getting involved with cancer charities. At just about the same time, I met my friend Beth who had just had her own fight with breast cancer.

Since that time, I have had many experiences with people who have battled this disease. When my friend Beth approached me with the idea of starting a non-profit, I whole-heartedly supported her dream and jumped at the chance to become involved. It has been a tremendous journey and I am very thankful for all the support we have received.

Sheila Montecino


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Cancer has impacted us all in some way or another. Cancer hit my life head on in 2006 when both my Aunt Laura and my good friend Beth were both diagnosed with breast cancer. Both were given a good prognosis and beat this terrible disease. But through their fight I saw firsthand how cancer affects everyone. It doesn't just affect the person fighting the disease but it affects all the family and friends.

When Beth started Hearts United Against Cancer my first thought was how can I help out. I started out as a volunteer and spent many hours making no sew blankets and writing cards. I was really happy doing those things knowing that it was going to brighten someone's day. Then I started going to hospitals and was able to help personally deliver bundles to Cancer Heroes. It was during these visits that I witnessed not only the gratitude on the Cancer Heroes' faces, but the feeling of gratitude also on the support people's faces.

I am so excited with how far this nonprofit has come and I'm excited to see where it goes in the future. My hope is that one day this nonprofit will no longer be needed and people will no longer have to fight this terrible disease.

Dottie Morton


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I am pleased to be a small part of Hearts United Against Cancer. When my Grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in 1969, it was a disease that people were often afraid of and maybe even ashamed to admit that they had been diagnosed with. People had trouble even saying the word. It was often referred to as the "Big C" and was not discussed openly. Unfortunately, most of us have had some experience in our lives with cancer, but thankfully research today has come a long way and so many people are now survivors.

As I said, my first experience was my Grandmother in 1969. Since then I have lost too many loved ones to cancer, my in-laws, my parents, a few friends along the way, and most recently in 2015, my husband. They were all different forms of cancer and they all fought the battle in a different way. But they all fought a courageous fight.

It was during my husband's battle that I realized to a fuller extent the hardships a cancer patient goes through. Not only the physical but the mental and emotional difficulties. And not just the patient but the family as well. I remember the smile on his face after receiving a card or someone stopping by to see how he was doing. Often people, other than family or close friends, are not sure about "bothering" or "disturbing" the patient, so they stay away. Not because they don't want to see the person but because they don't know what to do or say. After my husband passed, this often was on my mind but I did not know what to do about it as far as helping anyone else who was battling cancer.

Then, through a neighbor, I was introduced to Beth and to Hearts United Against Cancer. I admit my first contact and interest was selfish. I was lost and really needed something to fill my days so volunteering seemed like the best thing. A way to give back and do something worthwhile. After meeting Beth, and after volunteering for a short while with her I have discovered just how much she and Hearts United Against Cancer does for the people, not the disease. I really do admire the program she started and continues to grow. She is selfless and never seems to tire, always thinking ahead for the next trip to see patients or the next basket. The program is about "comfort and caring" for the people going through cancer treatments. I have been on deliveries with Beth and have seen how she will stop and talk to a patient if they want to talk or just leave a bag and blanket if they are asleep. Always with the patient needs first.

I am a small part in this organization but when I leave a work day or come home after a delivery day I can feel as if I gave something back and maybe gave someone just a little bit of a lift to keep going and conquer this disease. Someday science will find a cure but until then Hearts United Against Cancer will bring a little sunshine into the hearts of Cancer Heroes.

Barbara Berkowitz

Board Member and Director of Marketing

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In 1986, as a young woman of 31, the last thing on my mind was that a lump I discovered in my breast was cancer. It was a lonely experience for me at the time as everyone close to me thought I was fine, so the support system was not there and I experienced many days in tears. In 1998, once again I ended up with cancer in the same breast, only this time I was married to a wonderful man that was and is always there to support me in every way. My friends and family also rallied around me for my 2nd battle against Breast Cancer.

In 2001, I battled Breast Cancer for the 3rd time, this time in the skin, more minor then before; but still that word cancer and 3 years ago was diagnosed with Melanoma. Because of my experiences with cancer my heart goes out to anyone hearing this diagnosis and the fears and stress they have while fighting that battle.

I met Beth a couple years ago by accident and immediately felt her warmth and caring ways; there was no doubt about getting involved with this amazing organization. Coming from myself being a Cancer Hero, to have someone care and bring you support during one of the worse times in your life means everything. I had the privilege of going with Beth to some of the Hospitals she goes to deliver the Care & Comfort Bundles. It was an incredible experience as you could just see how important the Bundles were to the Cancer Heroes who received them and the smile they gave us melted my heart.

It is my hope through my experience in Marketing and Sales throughout my life time; from owning a business, to working in advertising, to teaching Marketing and Sales to Professionals, to now being the Marketing Director for SOS Group, along with working events as well as putting events together, that I can be of service to Hearts United Against Cancer. I want to help this organization grow so more Cancer Heroes can feel the support that is there for them during one of the worst times of their lives.

I feel honored to be working with Hearts United Against Cancer and look forward to being a part of the growth of this non-profit so Care & Comfort Bundles can spread across the country.

Lilia Madero

Board Member and Director of Fundraising

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Bio Coming Soon

Sue Montecino

Board Member and Director of Event Purchasing

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We all know about cancer and what it can do. We know that some people lose their fight against it and some people "beat it." Unfortunately some of us really have no clue what this disease can do to people mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was one of those people.

Fortunately most people in my family have not had a cancer diagnosis. However, my sister was not one of them. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, but God is good. She is now a 10 year survivor. Other people close to me who have had cancer have also survived. So you can say I didn't understand, but I always knew that I have great faith in God.

Then in 2014 I decided to get involved in Hearts United Against Cancer. I had been searching for someplace to volunteer and I've known Beth since she was a year old. I started delivering personally to Cancer Heroes at Jefferson Hospital with Beth. Doing this has forever changed me and the way I look at cancer. What these heroes go through is something I can't even begin to describe. There are always 1 or 2 heroes who really touch you that you can't get out of your thoughts and prayers for days. But it's not just the person going through the fight, it's their support people who touch me even more. I've seen the helplessness and fear in their faces that you just want to take away. I still have great faith in God and I know that someday we will find out how this horrible disease can just be eradicated from this earth.

Laura Ann Hood

Board Member and Director of Crafts and Social Media

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Cancer has undoubtedly touch the lives of everyone in someway. Although I have remained healthy myself, my life has been impacted by this terrible disease for almost twenty years since I lost my mother to cancer when I was only seventeen years old. From almost two decades I've shied away from anything having to do with cancer as a way to cope and heal.

Then one day, in the fall of 2014, I met Beth Elwood at a leaders meeting for Girl Scouts. She was there spreading her new mission and inviting the Girl Scouts to be a part of it.

Since then, myself and my Girl Scout troop have run events and fundraisers to support this organization as well as created our Bronze Award around Hearts United Against Cancer. This was in an effort to build shelves that were needed to store materials in our non-profit's office during the Summer of 2015.

Both concurrently and outside of Girl Scouts, I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer beyond that with our organization. During my summers off from being a full-time teacher, I have the flexibility to assist throughout the week in various capacities. Most recently Hearts United Against Cancer has invited me to join the board as Director of Crafts and Social Media. I completely support and thoroughly enjoy being part of this incredible non-profit organization and I look forward to watching it grow in the future!