sending smiles across the miles
The First 19 Years ..............................................................................................
the barnett-Searing National cancer foundation
Progress Report .................................................................................................
BSNCF Virtual Run/Walk ...................................................................................
Message from the Board Chairman ...................................................................
table of contents
Board of Directors .............................................................................................
Message from the Executive Director ................................................................
“When life gives you LIMES, rearrange the letters to say SMILE” is one of our favorite sayings inspired by volunteer Abby Slovick. 2020 has certainly been filled with unexpected twists and turns with COVID-19, but with your loyalty, as a Foundation, we found new ways to thrive and assist cancer patients and their families at a critical time.
When our annual Spring Fling fundraiser was canceled due to the pandemic, we shifted to create a virtual event, the BSNCF Run/Walk, which provided an opportunity for supporters throughout the U.S. to unite and take a stand against cancer. The first annual event was a huge success thanks to your commitment and incredible participation. With over 100 participants, we were able to supersede our Spring Fling fundraising goals. Together, we raised over $10,000 enabling us to continue to send "Smiles Across the Miles" during the pandemic. Your social media photos flooded our feed with inspiration. Our souls were deeply touched by your stories of remembrance, celebration, and reflection.
As we enter into the 20th anniversary year of the Foundation, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for loyalty, love, and support in what could have been a very difficult year. To our loyal board, thank you for keeping the light of Jenny and Mary glowing for so many years. To our amazing volunteers, thank you for choosing to give your time and talent to BSNCF. Together, we’ve touched lives throughout the world and are endlessly grateful for your support.
The best is yet to come!
MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIrECTOR
Taralyn Tharp Kohler
Taralyn Tharp Kohler
As I reflect on the year 2020 for the Barnett-Searing National Cancer Foundation, my initial emotion is, “we survived!”Upon further review I cannot help but think that 2020 forced BSNCF to live up to the challenge we pose to our cancer warriors.One of the Foundation’s primary goals is to empower cancer patients to not just merely survive but instead to THRIVE.It impacts everything we do.I am happy to report that BSNCF was able to THRIVE in 2020 despite the challenges we, like everyone, faced.
We started 2020 with great momentum on all fronts. COVID-19 and the quarantine created a unique problem for us.Many of our historical fundraising programs were stifled.Most notably, we were forced to cancel our largest annual fundraiser, the Annapolis Parrot Head Caribbean night at the last minute.At the same time, the isolation caused by the quarantine resulted in us receiving a record number of requests for Smile Kits.
Thriving in 2020 presented a huge challenge and BSNCF said, “challenge accepted.”The Foundation was able to fulfill all requests for Smile Kits.We found new ways to connect with our supporters and find new volunteers.I am proud of all that we have accomplished.BSNCF was formed to honor the memories of Mary Barnett and Jenny Searing.Never before, have their memories been so honored as in 2020.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the Barnett-Searing National Cancer Foundation.We couldn’t have achieved so much without your help.
John E. Searing
Co-founder and chairman of the board
MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD CHAIRMAN
The GENESIS OF Smile KitS
Bunny understands that patients may become tearful once they sit in that chair for the first time, but she also wanted to use them as a reminder of the many special moments that make us smile.
Bunny is thrilled to be a part of the BSNCF family where she can help bring a smile to someone who needs just a "little something." In 2020 Bunny gifted 510 "little somethings."
BSNCF has since gifted 1,800+ “Smile Kits'' to patients in every state in the U.S. Today’s kits include items such as a blanket, lip balm for dry lips, an adult coloring book for therapy and busting boredom, hand cream and colored pencils. All items are branded with sayings about smiles and joy.
BSNCF has included “Jenny’s Halos” which are made and sponsored by Jenny’s mother, Dee Searing, to provide patients with a stylish and functional head covering. When Jenny was sick, Dee sought ways to keep Jenny’s head warm. She wanted to pass this gift along to the ladies of BSNCF.
BSNCF has gifted gifting funds to advance cancer research to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Anderson Cancer Center Research as we believe strongly in the need to find a cure for this horrible disease. But until that day comes, BSNCF will provide also immediate and impactful assistance to comfort cancer patients and their families.
Through the years, these projects to provide comfort are both regional and nationwide in scope. BSNCF has eased medical and insurance burdens by creating a Patient Navigator system at The Lapidus Cancer Institute, established “The Wish Fund” to grant patients one last VIP wish, provided financial support to Stella Maris Hospice to comfort end-of-life patients, and revitalized a waiting room in memory of Mary Barnett at Greater Baltimore Medical Center where she was treated.In addition BSNCF delivered a caregiver workshop, “Walking on Eggshells.” Since 2006, BSNCF has also partnered with Lee’s Friends to provide gynecological support easing the financial burden for cancer patients in need.
BSNCF - The First 19 Years
"Your care package arrived the day before my 2nd PET/CT scan. I would find out later it was positive. I'm not cured, but it retreated. "
Our first “Smile Kit” program serviced gynecological patients at Greater Baltimore Medical Center with 125 comfort bags. These included a cozy blanket, chair exercise book, cookbook, awareness cancer ribbon, Biotene mouthwash, hand sanitizer, BSNCF water bottle, Tea Tree nail saver and queasy pops. These were so popular that we relaunched this program in 2017 and renamed comfort bags to “Smile Kits.
Also included in our “Smile Kits” are “Tissues for Tears” which are hand sewn tissue packet covers in fun prints crafted by Bunny Kohn, Jenny’s nurse and cancer thriver. Bunny started making these gifts many years ago for friends and family as a “little” something. When Bunny started taking care of chemotherapy patients, she decided to give them to patients on their first day of treatment which can be both scary and emotional.
The Barnett-Searing National Cancer Foundation was founded in 2001 to carry on the legacy of Jenny Searing and Mary Barnett. Jenny died at a tender age of 26 from ovarian sarcoma within four months from diagnosis to her passing. Jenny was the beloved sister of John. Around the same time, Mary Barnett passed from uterine sarcoma at the age of 55 leaving behind a wonderful family including her son Kevin.
Kevin and John joined forces with their families to create a Foundation where they could give back and help other women battling cancer. BSNCF has positively impacted the emotional, physical and financial health of cancer patients since 2001 through a variety of projects.
2020 started with strong momentum. Our first event in January was with our friends at FBLA Interact at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Virginia. Care packages were stocked with a blanket, coloring books, colored pencils, hand cream, and lip balm were generously supplied by these high schoolers and their families. This kit drive helped us sustain our inventory until supplies could be replenished. Little did we know that a pandemic would impact the supply and demand of art and other supplies as families moved into sheltering in place.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought other new challenges to BSNCF. Our largest in-person fundraiser scheduled for March 2020 was cancelled suddenly. Quarantine brought increased isolation and depression for cancer patients as well as patients and loved ones googling for solutions. This led to a 50% increase in “Smile Kits'' requests. While “Smile Kit” supplies also decreased in availability yet increased in cost. We are happy to report that we met all requests!
Meanwhile, BSNCF quickly pivoted to virtual “Smile Kit” making events with corporate partners like the GRF CPAs & Advisors. We made the most of the situation together and continued to spread joy.
We found that while families were sheltering in place many BSNCF supporters focused on giving back to the community and living a healthy lifestyle. Because of this the first annual BSNCF Virtual Run/Walk was a huge success and Team BSNCF increased in size spreading awareness of the Foundation through sport.
Students around the U.S. began reaching out inquiring about volunteer opportunities and ways to contribute and volunteer in quarantine. We launched “Students Making Smiles.” This volunteer program allows students to create handmade cards and receive service hour credit. Students could also fundraise or hold a shoe drive. Over 20 schools from Virginia to California participated, and we were flooded with cards to use in our “Smile Kits.” We were thrilled to offer this give back opportunity.
Thank you so much for the wonderful care package. It meant the world to me. I had my first chemo treatment and used the blanket and socks to comfort me. I love them all!
Thank you again for all that you do for women like me.
- Denise, Maryland
"I just received your wonderful care package. What a wonderful service you offer. It did make me smile. I have metastatic breast cancer which has spread to my liver. "
The launch of the first annual BSNCF Virtual Run/Walk was one of the positive outputs of the COVID-19 pandemic. When our major fundraiser of the year, the Spring Fling, was canceled our leadership team brainstormed on ways to connect with our supporters in quarantine while raising funds. Seeking to build an event that was family and COVID-19 friendly, the BSNCF Virtual Run/Walk met this criteria. Inspired by Co-Founder and Board Chairman, John Searing, this new event engaged supporters throughout the United States and created a new sustainable fundraiser. The BSNCF family aggressively supported this event with an outpouring of energy. Special thanks to Team BSNCF Co-Captains, Tricia Katebini and Teresa Nie, for your leadership and a special shout out to top fundraisers: Kallen Carlson, Cory Brewbaker, and Roy Zaletski. Last but not least special thanks to the November Project for embracing our event. We appreciate your support.
Co-Founder and Board Chair
— Shannon, South Carolina
Athena Scalise Waitt
Jennifer Cramer Marden
board of Directors
BSNCF VIRTUAL RUN/WALK
4094 Majestic Lane
Fairfax, VA 22033
Sending smiles across the miles
BARNETT- sEARING NATIoNAL CANCER FOUNDATION