Archive for the ‘Life with Breast Cancer’ Category

Oct 04

Meet Our Provision Project Applicants

Thank you for supporting Provision Project and the women we serve! Each of them is a woman fighting breast cancer who has humbly asked for financial help for the basics: medical co-pays, utilities, housing, transportation, food. Provision Project typically is able to fund around 14 women with financial needs every month. There is more need than funding!

Meet a few of our applicants from just one day (names have been changed):

Susie – I am seeking financial assistance to pay my water bill, electric and telephone bill. I’m trying to avoid foreclosure on my home and not enough resources to cover all bills. Maggie – I am 25 yrs old, a hair stylist by profession and support myself. I will be out of work for several months after surgery (Nov/Dec). Any financial support in way of rent, utilities, car payment and medical bills would be so appreciated. Dorothy – I’m a single mom of 4, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, metastatic breast cancer to spine in late 2016, laid off from job in Dec 2017, receiving disability checks, currently in treatment still. We even hardly have enough money for gas and groceries. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Jennifer – Need assistance with car payment due to increasing out of pocket medical expenses related to breast cancer treatment. I have spoken to my lien holder, and they are working with me to avoid repossession.

Every woman has a story. And basic needs. And very few places to turn. Each one is fighting for her life. And also fighting creditors. Will you consider providing hope to one of these women through a donation? Thank you!

Jan 10

Stephanie’s Story – “A Lump and a Bump”

What does breast cancer “look like” to you?

Stephanie was 30 years old and 17 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Provision Project has met many women who have endured breast cancer treatment while having a baby on board. It’s a miracle to see beautiful newborns born perfectly healthy. The way our bodies are made is so amazing … women are usually able to have chemotherapy without harming their baby in any way. And many babies are born with a full head of hair!

Natalie, the “Bump,” was born in June 2013 and continues to thrive in every way. Hear her and Stephanie’s story here.

Dec 30

“Helping Hands” Got Tiffany’s House Painted!

Tiffany is a beautiful single mommy of an 11-year-old daughter. And she’s fighting metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer. A few years ago, their family purchased a home that had been in foreclosure, and the mortgage payment is low.  Tiffany is unable to work, and finances are tight. But they’re making it.

Last summer, Tiffany received a letter from her homeowner’s association, telling her that she needed to have her home painted by a specific date. Where was THAT money going to come from? It seemed like an impossible situation to resolve.

Tiffany contacted Provision Project to ask if they could help. Provision Project’s “Helping Hands” program matches local small businesses with women in active treatment for breast cancer who need home and transportation services. A generous local painter talked to a generous paint company …. and off they went, saving her thousands of dollars! Tiffany’s home was painted in a few weeks, and she could rest easy, knowing her home value had increased and that it wouldn’t need to be painted again for many years.

If you know of a business in your area that would be interested in being on Provision Project’s “Helping Hands” list, please email Jan James at This information is kept confidential and is only used when a need arises.

Dec 27

Behold the Dandelion

by Jan James, Provision Project Founder

Behold the dandelion.

A weed?


But maybe something else.

A sign of perseverance.

A sign of strength.

A sign of resilience.

A sign of HOPE.

When you donate to Provision Project, you donate HOPE. And women fighting breast cancer definitely need HOPE.

When you’re battling breast cancer, you have a LOT to worry about. Why are they asking ME to make decisions about treatment …. Aren’t THEY the experts? How will I tolerate my treatment? How will my family respond to me not being 100%? Will my friends stand by me or desert me? How much pain will I be in? How am I going to do everything I normally do AND fight cancer? Who can I ask for help (since I’ve always been so independent)? Will my family think I’m a burden? Am I going to wake up from surgery? Will I still be able to work? If I can’t, will I still have a job when I get back? How will I pay for treatment? Does this mean my daughters will get breast cancer? Will I get to see my children grow up? Am I going to live? Will I leave my children without a parent? Will I leave my parents without a child?

When you donate to Provision Project, you let the woman fighting breast cancer worry a bit less. You’ll help her pay her medical co-pay this month. She’ll have enough gas to get to life-saving treatment. She’ll have food for her kids. Her electricity will stay on! You will give her HOPE that she’ll get through this horrible process. That there is light on the other side. That there are people who care.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is something a woman rarely sees coming. But no one talks about the financial battle that many women face during their treatment. You don’t see it coming, and you can’t plan for it. When there just isn’t enough money for the basics of life, there aren’t many places to go for help. Through your generosity, Provision Project can help bridge that financial gap for the women we serve.

Behold the dandelion.

A sign of HOPE.

“Helping Others, Providing Essentials.” HOPE.


Dec 16

Valley Sleep Center Provides Small Miracle for Woman Fighting Breast Cancer

Shanna is a dedicated single mom to two beautiful children, Resean and Reana. Shanna works in a medical office and is proud of being able to have a job that provides for her children as well as helps others.

A few months ago, Shanna got the news that changed her world forever. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was stunned.  Shanna said, “I’m normally the one that everyone calls when they need help. This is a very different position to be in, having to ask others for help.”

With a growing mountain of medical bills, Shanna got the notice that her electricity would be turned off the next day. She had fallen behind in her payments, and she didn’t know where to turn.

Thanks to Phoenix area business, Valley Sleep Center, that very day Shanna got some help.

Shanna was at her medical office job when a marketing representative from Valley Sleep Center came to her office and gave her a plastic pink cup that included a flyer about their support of an Arizona-based nonprofit called Provision Project whose mission is to provide financial relief to women in active treatment for breast cancer.

To Shanna, receiving that flyer was a small miracle! After confirming that Shanna was a qualified candidate, Provision Project paid her past due bill and kept the lights on. To some people, paying a utility bill might be a small thing, but to Shanna and her children, it was a small miracle.

Provision Project was started in 2015 by Mesa resident Jan James who is a breast cancer survivor. Through her involvement in a large breast cancer support group, James realized that many women struggle financially during breast cancer treatment, even if they have insurance. In fact, 62% of the country’s bankruptcies are due to medical issues, and in 75% of those bankruptcies, the families had medical insurance. Provision Project provides financial relief for basic necessities like food, shelter, utilities, transportation and medical payments.

Valley Sleep Center partnered with Provision Project because its president, Lauri Leadley, is a breast cancer survivor herself who went through a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.  Leadley knows what it’s like to be going through cancer treatment and not being able to work. And when the main bread winner in the family is a single mom, it’s especially difficult.

That’s why on December 12, 2016, Valley Sleep Center donated $7,000 to Provision Project. Leadley says, “We are all in this together!”

“Valley Sleep Center’s generosity to Provision Project and the hard work of their staff will help many women going through breast cancer,” said Jan James, founder of the non-profit organization. “We want those women to focus on fighting the disease, not their creditors. We don’t want them to worry about paying for the basic necessities of life when their paycheck won’t stretch enough …. Provision Project is there to bridge the gap.”

For more information on the work that Valley Sleep Center does, please go to their website at


Dec 08

An Unexpected Christmas Gift

You’re a single mom.

You have four children.

You have one vehicle.

You have stage 4 breast cancer.

The news from the doctors isn’t good. You get word that the painful pleural effusion in your lungs means you need to have a catheter placed in your chest wall so the fluid causing your pain can drain.

And then your car breaks down. It has to be towed, leaving a puddle of coolant on the pavement where it was parked. The news from the mechanic isn’t good: $650. Where will THAT come from?

This is Rachel’s story. Rachel is 36 years old and has been living with breast cancer since 2013. Her kids, ages 16, 15, 12, and 6, have been living with breast cancer since then, too. They live in the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

When you have stage 4 breast cancer, treatment never stops. When one chemo regimen stops working, you’re switched to another one that you pray stops the progression of the disease.

And the bills pile up. Most likely, a stage 4 gal dramatically cuts her work hours back. Or she may have to stop working altogether. Rachel works 8 hours a week when she’s feeling up to it. She’s not up to working this month. As the sole breadwinner in her family, it’s an understatement to say that money is tight.

That’s where Provision Project steps in. Yes, we could just call the mechanic and pay the bill. But we know that people are inherently good-hearted. They would like to help, but they sometimes need to know HOW to help.

A member of our leadership team went to talk with the service manager at AAA Arizona in Mesa, the auto repair shop where Rachel’s car had been towed. He didn’t know Rachel’s story, so we shared it. And then we asked if we could work together to give Rachel and her kids a safe vehicle. We challenged him not to just think about repairing the coolant issue but to take a hard look at her vehicle and to repair what was essential on the car. He agreed to take a look at the vehicle and get back to us.

By the next day, Jeff, the AAA Arizona service manager, called us back to give us an update. Yes, the heater hose assembly needed to be replaced. He was willing to comp the service … and he had convinced his parts suppliers to comp the parts. Check. But there were a few more safety issues that needed to be handled. Control arms replaced. Check. Motor mounts replaced. Check. Sway bar bushings replaced. Check. Brake job. Check. Alignment. Check. Safe car. Check.

The repair came to $1964.68. Rachel’s cost?


Jeff caught the vision. In one day, he had moved mountains! Once he understood Rachel’s situation, he convinced his AAA management team and the folks at Factory Motor Parts and San Tan Ford to pitch in to help Rachel and her family.  He did what he could. And he made a difference in the lives of Rachel’s family. A BIG difference!

Provision Project was there when Rachel and the kids picked up her car from AAA Mesa. There wasn’t a dry eye in the shop. And today Rachel told us that the car now runs so quietly, she can’t even tell when it’s running. Now she can focus on her kids instead of her car problems. Merry Christmas, Rachel!

(Rachel still needs two front tires, but we’re working on that, too).

Provision Project’s Helping Hands Program matches women who need home or auto service with small local businesses in many industries. If you know of a business that would like to be considered as a Helping Hands partner, please email Provision Project serves women across the country.

Nov 25

Help Keep the Lights On!

#GivingUtilities on #GivingTuesday – November 29, 2016

Shanna is a dedicated single mom to two beautiful kids, Resean and Reana. She loves helping people through her job as a healthcare worker. She’s proud of being able to have a job that provides for her children and helps people with their medical needs.

A few months ago, Shanna got the news that changed her world forever. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. At 40 years old and being the head of a single-income household, Shanna moved from helping others to needing help herself.  “I’m normally the one that everyone calls when they need help. This is a very different position to be in, having to ask for help,” Shanna said.

With a growing mountain of medical bills, Shanna got the notice that her electricity would be turned off the next day. She had fallen behind in her payments, and she didn’t know where to turn for help.

That very day, a representative from Provision Project’s supporter, Valley Sleep Center, came to her office to deliver a plastic pink cup that included a flyer about Provision Project from VSC’s owner and breast cancer survivor, Lauri Leadley. Just as Shanna was worrying about how to pay her utility bill, a solution appeared!  After confirming that Shanna was a qualified candidate, Provision Project paid her past due bill and kept the lights on.

This #GivingTuesday, help women like Shanna keep the lights on for their families through #GivingUtilities. Provision Project pays more utility bills than anything else, averaging $156. Thank you for your help!

More About Shanna’s Family

When Provision Project spoke with Shanna, she was overflowing with praise for children. Her 17-year-old son, Resean, is an avid football player, a good student, and holds down a weekend job. Her 12-year-old daughter, Reana, is a straight-A student who has been a tremendous help since Shanna’s breast cancer diagnosis. Reana begged Shanna to stay overnight with her during her hospital stay, logs the output of Shanna’s drains, and faithfully keeps the ice water pitcher filled. While Reana’s “plans” are to become a lawyer, we wonder if she’s not going to move into the healthcare field.


Nov 03

Flight Attendant Grounded by Breast Cancer

With no family history of breast cancer, 42-year-old Heather, loving wife, mother of two little girls, Lyvea, 5, and Mylah, 3, and a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines, made a discovery that would change her life and the life of her family.

She had a normal mammogram just four months before the fateful day when she felt a pulling in her arm.  While rubbing that area, she felt a marble sized lump in her left breast.  “I was thinking, no way it was serious, (more…)

Oct 25


by Jan James, Founder

Provision Project is a different kind of breast cancer non-profit organization.  You don’t see much pink on our website.  Some.  But not much.

And that’s on purpose.  Throughout the years, the pink ribbon of breast cancer has become a synonymous symbol of breast cancer.  In October, the country turns pink.  Commerce turns pink.  Even the NFL turns pink.

We’re very grateful that there is so much awareness of breast cancer in the United States, and that awareness has undoubtedly saved thousands of lives because women are reminded to do self-exams and mammograms.

The leadership team at Provision Project has intimate knowledge of breast cancer.  All of our board members either have had breast cancer or have had a loved one fight it.  Most of us are part of a large online breast cancer support group that I founded in 2012 where we learned firsthand that many of our sisters are fighting another battle on top of breast cancer.  It’s a financial battle.

It started innocently enough.  One of the gals in our support group asked us to pray for her.  She needed to decide whether to pay her co-pay for chemo the next day OR to pay her electric bill, which was overdue and about to be disconnected.  Thankfully, some of the women in our group rallied around her and found the funds to make both things happen.

But that wasn’t the only situation we heard about.  We painfully learned that women with stage 4 breast cancer never stop treatment … if one treatment stops working, they start a different protocol.  How can a family be expected to keep up with the deductibles, co-pays and their regular bills for the rest of their lives?  Especially when one of the family’s breadwinners is fighting for her life and either has to cut back on work hours or can’t work?

We all became aware that financial devastation is often a side effect of breast cancer treatment that no one talks about.  And that’s not right.

My best friend and co-leader for the breast cancer support group, Renee Miki, quietly started to sell off her possessions so she could send money to women who were suffering financially.  No one but her husband, Jacob, and I knew that she was doing it.  Renee and I often talked about why there were no non-profits that helped women financially while they were in treatment.  Almost all the breast cancer non-profits we knew about were raising money for “the cure.”  Or “awareness.”

Renee changed her address to Heaven in November 2014, leaving Jacob and her two young daughters behind.  Jacob challenged me to start a non-profit in Renee’s honor, and Provision Project was born in February 2015.

Why call it “Provision Project”?  Because we’re providing for the most basic of necessities.  That’s it.  Every human being deserves to have food, clothing and shelter. But the breast cancer fighter also needs deductible payments, co-pays, prescriptions, gas to get to treatment and other basic needs.  Often there just isn’t enough money to make all of those “basics” happen.

Jacob is a graphic designer, and it only seemed right that he would design the logo for Provision Project.  We didn’t give him any ideas about what to create, but when he came back to us with the current logo, we knew it was The One.

Why a dandelion?  Jacob says, “My idea behind the dandelion is that its head is made up of several seeds that work together for the purpose of multiplying and creating more dandelions. The dandelion seeds sprout new growth and create more dandelions.  Our hope is that the seeds that each donation represents will not only be disbursed to give financial relief and hope, but also inspire others to donate and support the cause as well.  The more donations we can disburse, the more women we can help.”

We loved Jacob’s idea, and we also loved the idea of having a “not pink on purpose” logo.  Our logo is the colors of life.  We are helping women live with cancer.

Remember being a child and picking a dandelion that had gone to seed?  What would you do?  You’d blow it into the wind and make a wish. Provision Project likes to think of those seeds as seeds of hope.  The women we serve need hope. They need financial relief.  They need to know that someone cares about them and their fight and will help them get through it.  They need Provision Project. 

Oct 18

Climbing the Mountain of Cancer

by Kristin Knerr

I am honored that Provision Project has asked me to tell my story. This project is very close to my heart, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this group of women who have inspired me and encouraged me so much.

I don’t want to tell the story of my diagnosis or my journey through the battlefield. My story is most likely much like yours. The devastating phone call, the destruction of body, mind, and spirit. The confusion, the sorrow, the suffering, the agonizing pain. The coming undone.

What I want is to give you the most valuable weapon you must have if you are to survive and move on again. I want to give you hope. I want you to know in your darkest and loneliest of hours, that you will come out the other side again. In the burning away of all that you are and possess, do not let go of your hope. The sun is going to shine, your hair is going to grow back, you will laugh out loud, and you will grow strong once again, I promise. I will never say, “Don’t give up,” because I did, one thousand times. Victory isn’t in the not giving up. It’s in the getting up, over and over again. I don’t recall ever thinking that cancer would be the death of me, but I certainly do remember thinking that despair would. Connect yourself to other survivors because they understand, and they need you to survive as well. I am here with you. My name is in the link here somewhere, and I want you to friend me or message me. Take my hand, I’ll go with you as far as I am able. When you want to give up, I’ll stand in the gap for you.

After I finished treatment, I was left with some significant physical disabilities. I was not able to walk very well and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. I would wake up in the mornings, and the first thought I would have was, “I can’t” and I would cry myself out of bed. It took almost two years to be able to walk normally and a lot of physical therapy, but here I am, on the other side.

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to climb Mount Tetakawai located in Sonora, Mexico, surrounded by the Sea of Cortez. I was accompanied by my daughter, grandson, and a precious friend who has stayed with me through it all. Funny thing about mountains, they don’t look very intimidating when you see them from a distance. But when you stand at the base of them and look up, it appears insurmountable. I think being on the cancer battle field is a lot like climbing that mountain.

Mount Tetakawai isn’t an exceptionally large mountain, but it is technical and complicated. There are large sections of shale and slate with razor sharp edges. There are a few sections of rock that you can’t actually climb but can sort of throw your body over them. How did I climb that mountain? One rock at a time. I stopped and rested a few times, but I kept going. I came to a few spots that made me laugh because I knew there was no possible way I was strong enough to get through it, but I did. The love and encouragement from those that were with me got me over the top of several boulders. When I looked up at the mountain looming overhead, I knew I couldn’t do it, but when I looked at each rock as its own challenge, I knew I could do that. Let me tell you, the view from the top defies description. I was somehow changed inside, standing on the highest point, witnessing the way the ocean met the sky.

Keep going. Keep reaching up and forward, and keep your eyes on the little obstacles in front of you because before you know it, you will be at the top without even knowing how you really got there. Be courageous, be fierce, and most of all, be full of hope.