Here for the Girls, Inc. (H4TG) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit improving the lives of young women affected by breast cancer (diagnosed under age 51). We offer social-emotional support through services that provide personal connections and a shared experience among our members. Our research-based support model focuses on the overall well-being of our members and delivers our services through a non-clinical, peer-based approach. The result is an inclusive community based on equity and cultural humility that cultivates a sense of belonging from diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond.
Our members receive support through a variety of programs and services that encourage emotional healing including annual weekend retreats, an annual calendar that includes a breast health guide, educational sessions with partnering physicians, program activities and communications, along with in-person and virtual support. All these offerings are available at no cost to young women with breast cancer.
The Here for the Girls story dates back to 2006, when Mary Beth Gibson and René Bowditch met at a retreat for breast cancer survivors. Facing this disease as young women opened their eyes to the gap in services to address their unique challenges and the limited resources for finding peers who “got it”– who understood the concerns, needs, and fears they faced because of their age. Together, Mary Beth and René developed a shared passion to provide support to young women like them.
They began by inviting young women with breast cancer to René’s home in Virginia to share encouragement and information. These monthly meetings blossomed in 2007 into a nonprofit they named “Beyond Boobs!” It was during those first meetings that these two developed their model of providing intimate, peer-led support in a comfortable environment. As the organization evolved, Mary Beth and René helped grow new support systems around Virginia and beyond and added program services.
Today, what started as a small monthly support group is a thriving nonprofit that serves women diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. In 2015, after adopting another breast cancer nonprofit, Pink-Link, services expanded to include virtual support. That’s when the organization changed its name to Here for the Girls (H4TG for short).
H4TG offers in-person and virtual support through a variety of programs and helps hundreds of young women each year. The vision these co-founders launched is reaching more young women every day with the positivity, compassion, and love they instilled in it from the start because Here for the Girls is built on this foundation of love and shared passion.
"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one!"
~ C.S. Lewis
It is the gentleness and strength of our women, the tenacity and passion of our team, and the love and support from my family that inspire me to be Here for the Girls!
One of my favorite quotes from Brene Brown is "owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we'll ever do." I am inspired by all of the stories our members share which is my 'why' everyday as I work to fulfill the mission of H4TG.
As a social worker at H4TG, I will work both diligently and with humble dedication so that no one has to face the journey of breast cancer alone.
I believe in the power of love to transform and heal. At H4TG, I have personally witnessed the impact loving support has on our young women facing very serious health issues.
“Be a rainbow in somebody’s else’s cloud”
– Maya Angelou
“It’s funny how, in this journey of life, even though we may begin at different times and places, our paths cross with others so that we may share our love, compassion, observations, and hope.”
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs