Nonprofit empowers survivors of metastatic breast cancer by creating memorable travel experiences and connections
CHICAGO — Grant Thornton LLP, one of America’s largest audit, tax and advisory firms has named MBC Travelers to its Purple Paladin program, which helps emerging nonprofit organizations move from “start-up to unstoppable.” As part of the program, Grant Thornton provides funding, business advice and volunteer support, while also helping nonprofits raise awareness of their work and mission.
MBC Travelers was founded in 2021 by Jennifer Pace, who has been living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) for over a decade. This nonprofit organization is on a mission to empower MBC survivors – or “thrivers”, as they like to call themselves – by creating memorable experiences and creating connections with other women living with MBC.
“This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re proud to support MBC Travelers in their mission to create personal, memorable experiences through a community that supports each other for life,” said Seth Siegel, CEO of Grant Thornton. “The MBC Travelers community speaks to a fervent need for connection – something we all long for, whether that’s in business or in life.”
Pace learned she had MBC just eight months after her initial diagnosis of stage 3B breast cancer in 2012. While the survival rate can vary from months to years, MBC is a terminal diagnosis. About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and for nearly 30% of them, the disease will progress to MBC.
After her diagnosis, Pace looked for other women living with MBC to form connections and friendships outside a hospital setting. When she suggested a group trip, more than 800 women expressed interest.
“I realized this would be more than a girls’ trip,” Pace said. “We were fulfilling a gap for women living with MBC. We need research and advocacy, but we also need opportunities to connect with each other in ways we can’t with others.”
MBC Travelers builds community through an annual five-day “bucket list” trip for 50 women. The foundation also organizes pop-up events, weekend getaways and experiences for smaller groups around the country and throughout the year, at little to no cost for the women attending. Pace plans every aspect of each trip and event, keeping in mind what MBC thrivers — who vary in their capabilities due to the progression of their disease – will find the trips fun, valuable and memorable.
More than 250 women have attended MBC Travelers trips and events since the nonprofit’s inception. Members of the community — now more than 400 strong — keep up with each other in GroupMe chats, calls and visits for life’s big and small moments.
“We go to each other’s weddings and birthdays. We fly across the country to support each other at doctor’s appointment or after a surgery,” Pace said. “We’re there for each other through the good and the bad, from the beginning to the end.”
To learn more about MBC Travelers, visit https://www.mbctravelers.com/
MBC Travelers joins 16 other 501(c)(3) nonprofits that Grant Thornton previously selected as Purple Paladins. They include:
- I Got THIS Foundation — helps inspire young golfers and educates the public on what’s possible for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. To learn more, visit igotthis.foundation.
- Women in Training is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that dedicated to ending “period poverty”. To learn more, visit womenintraining.org.
- Digs with Dignity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps elevate the lives of those transitioning from homelessness by furnishing their houses to create a dignified home. To learn more, visit digswithdignity.org.
- Fair Opportunity Project is 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers high-quality college counseling resources at no cost to aspiring students. To learn more, visit fairopportunityproject.org.
- Free Mom Hugs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates allies who support the LGBTQIA+ community through visibility, education and conversation. To learn more, visit freemomhugs.org.
- WeaveTales is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps refugees of all kinds share their stories via books, exhibits, films and other channels. To learn more, visit weavetales.org.
- Warrior Reunion Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that reconnects combat veterans via life-changing reunion experiences. All events are provided at no cost to those who attend. To learn more, visit warriorreunionfoundation.org.
- Go Team Therapy Dogs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that produces well-trained therapy dogs and places them at disaster sites, hospitals, and other places where they can offer comfort and care. To learn more, visit goteamdogs.org.
- Find Your Anchor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on suicide prevention. To help people who are struggling to find hope, the organization creates and distributes boxes of curated items known as “anchors.” To learn more, visit findyouranchor.us.
- Foster Nation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps former foster youth overcome the challenges associated with ‘aging out’ of the foster-care system. To learn more, visit fosternation.org.
- Hope in a Box is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides educators with literature, detailed curriculums and coaching to improve classroom environments for LGBTQIA+ students. To learn more, visit hopeinabox.org.
- Weird Enough Productions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that develops free, interactive online content designed to combat media misrepresentations of minority communities. The organization is best known for its hallmark comic book series, “The UnCommons.” To learn more, visit weirdenough.com.
- Invisible Hands Deliver is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that taps more than 12,000 volunteers to deliver groceries, prescriptions, and other necessities to people vulnerable to COVID-19 and facing hunger insecurity — including the elderly, disabled and immunocompromised. To learn more, visit invisiblehandsdeliver.org.
- Pal Experiences is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps people with non-visible disabilities — such as autism — have more inclusive experiences at museums, entertainment venues, sporting events and more. To learn more, visit palexperiences.org.
- Sneakers for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides properly-fitted athletic shoes to deployed combat troops in all branches of the military. To learn more, visit sneakersforsoldiers.org.
- Coming Up Rosies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides “smile kits” to hospitals so children — particularly those suffering from hair loss — can engage in therapeutic art activities to create custom head scarves, neck scarves and superhero capes based on their own unique designs. To learn more, visit cominguprosies.com.
Grant Thornton’s Purple Paladins program derives its name from the word paladin, a champion of a cause. Grant Thornton and its professionals have donated more than $1 million to Purple Paladin nonprofits, and more than 650 Grant Thornton professionals have volunteered their time and skills to support to the firm’s Purple Paladins.
To learn more about Purple Paladins, or to nominate a nonprofit for potential support, visit Grant Thornton’s website: www.grantthornton.com/PurplePaladins.
About Grant Thornton LLP
Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is one of America’s largest audit, tax and advisory firms — and the U.S. member firm of the Grant Thornton International Ltd global network. We go beyond the expected to make business more personal and build trust into every result. With revenues of $2.3 billion for the fiscal year that ended July 31, 2022, and almost 50 offices nationwide, Grant Thornton is a community of more than 9,000 problem solvers who value relationships and are ready to help organizations of all sizes and industries create more confident futures. Because, for us, how we serve matters as much as what we do.
“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions.
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