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  • Beverly Vaillancourt M.Ed

Hope When It's Needed

Wait? what? were my thoughts as I grappled to understand the story of a young woman who discovered shortly after giving birth to a beautiful child that she has stage 4 colon cancer. Heart wrenching barely describes my reaction. Recently I learned about a friend's wife who discovered she has stage 3 ovarian cancer. There's nothing nice about cancer. It steals. It destroys. It creeps into one's life like a fog slowing covering the landscape in the dark of night. And, then it tries, and all too tragically succeeds, in carrying life away.


Cancer touches everyone in some way. A friend. A family member. Perhaps yourself. There are no words to define cancer. It defines itself. But there is one word that defies cancer. That word is hope.


Hope comes in the form of a smile, a heartfelt hug, and most certainly with effective cancer treatments. Hope also comes in the good works of caring individuals who open their hearts to others. Hope Matters, based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is filled with just those individuals. From their Memory Cafes to their Annual Senior Prom to their Stocking Project that brings music and joy to hospitalized cancer patients, Hope Matters simply cares deeply about those most in need of hope. Their outreach is enhanced by their mobile app that allows for sharing photos of their good works, registering for events, securing donations, connecting to social media, and highlighting the hope they bring to families experiencing cancer, Alzheimer's, and military deployments.



The helplessness one feels when cancer strikes can be countered by the efforts of others to bring a ray of hope to those affected. It was an honor for PowerUp Design to design and build the Hope Matters mobile app. It began as a progressive web app and was shared with friends via text message and email. As an effective way to expand the advocacy of Hope Matters, the mobile app was subsequently sent to the app stores. And so today you can find it for your mobile device by searching Hope Matters in Google Play and in the Apple App Store.


Founded by author Maryann Makekau, Home Matters educates, builds a network of hope throughout the Fort Walton Beach community, and brings joy to those most in need of welcomed smiles and heartfelt hugs. With their app, the Hope Matters nonprofit expands their efforts to inspire others throughout the country to bring hope to individuals in area hospitals and senior centers.



Here's a quick snapshot of how the Hope Matters nonprofit works to share the best of who we are collectively as a nation.


Stocking Project - "The Stocking Project eases the difficulties of navigating cancer at Christmastime. In 2011, Taira Baughman invited Hope Matters to help with the grassroots efforts of The Stocking Project. That effort has resulted in more than 35,000 stockings delivered around the nation to-date. Hope Matters volunteers deliver a legacy of stockings, music, and hope to people battling cancer at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and the Mack Bayou Infusion Clinic."


Memory Cafes - "Too often families going through Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia are isolated. We aim to change that. The Hope Matters “neighborhood memory cafes” bring care-partners and loved ones together to immerse in the arts, take a field trip, experience new tools, let go of stress, and refuel with hope -- all at no cost to participants."


Annual Senior Prom - Here seniors, along with friends and family, join for an evening of find dining and dancing "under the stars." While a fund raiser for Hope Matters, the Annual Senior Prom is truly a very special time of honoring seniors living in the Fort Walton Beach community.



Download the app today. It's free! With it you'll be able to order Maryann's popular Little Books of hope and compassion written for adults and children, read Maryann's blog, and share the experience of extending hope to others. You can even donate to the Hope Matters initiative, or contact Maryann Makekau for more information.


Join PowerUp Design in supporting the amazing work of Hope Matters. A smile, a door held, a kind word costs nothing and can brighten the day of someone living under the cloud of grief or fear. Let's bring a ray of hope daily to all we meet through little acts of kindness, or if you can, through volunteering with a local agency that works to ease the pain of others.


Hope Matters does just that. They are, in every way, an inspiration to us all.

















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