Beth Elwood

President and Founder

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 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

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


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


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.

Lilia Madero

Board Member and Director of Fundraising

I have been a professional who has an extensive background in retail banking and business development having worked with leading financial institutions here in New Jersey for nearly 25 years. I'm committed and dedicated to my profession, providing excellent customer Service and building lasting relationships.

I have seen many friends and family members battle cancer. I have seen how people cope and never lose hope; I have seen the will to overcome and to recover. For those reasons, I'm proud to be part of Hearts United Against Cancer. I have always wanted to be part of an organization that helps uplift spirits and puts smiles on people's faces when they receive a care bundle in the mail. In July of 2017, I met Beth Elwood and saw what a wonderful, joyful non-profit she has created. At that moment, I knew I wanted to part of it.

Hearts United Against Cancer is a young organization founded in 2014 and as it continues to grow, I want to be part of its growth. I'm excited to be part of this group, I'm excited to see it continue to grow and be part of that growth.

I'm proud to be the Director of Fundraising for Hearts United Against Cancer.

Sue Montecino

Board Member and Director of Event Purchasing

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

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!