VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – When Kelly Lewis was fighting breast cancer five years ago, she had a strong support system by her side.
“When I was diagnosed, I had this amazing family and a great group of friends,” said Lewis, founder and executive director of Granted. “I didn’t have to worry about anything. I was able to relax and recover and have all things taken care of.
Later realizing her journey wasn’t typical, Lewis used her diagnosis to help others.
She started Granted two years ago for those who don’t have anyone they can turn to as they battle the devastating disease.
“They don’t have rides to chemo, which heartbreaking, and they don’t have childcare to take care of their babies when they go to doctor’s appointments,” Lewis said.
To continue its mission, the nonprofit will be holding a virtual silent auction next month. Granted is looking for local vendors to donate services, gift certificates and other prizes.
All proceeds raised will help the women Granted serves including services such as rides to appointments, housekeeping services, massages and more.
“It means childcare; it means rides to chemo; it means meals, lawn care, pet walking services, things you don’t typically think of that people actually need when they’re recovering,” Lewis said. “It’s difficult to do especially after a double mastectomy and chemo.”
Granted’s work may be more important than ever.
The World Health Organization recently announced breast cancer is now the world’s mostly commonly diagnosed form of cancer, overtaking lung cancer.
A late diagnosis and lack of access to treatment has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to WHO, the overall number of people diagnosed with cancer nearly doubled, from an estimated 10 million in 2000 to 19.3 million in 2020.
Lewis is now cancer free.
“I’m so thankful to be here,” she said. “It’s such a blessing to be here.”
She’s continuing to fight for others, helping women with the practical and emotional support they need to ultimately beat breast cancer.
“We are here. Come on,” said Lewis. “We have a blind application. It does not matter what your need is. It does not matter your financial status. None of that matters.”
Granted’s virtual fundraiser, ‘The Big or Small - Save Them All Auction’ runs from March 5 to March 12.