How/Why did you first start or join your business?
Two friends, Gwen Ryan & Lee Miraglia, diagnosed with two different cancers at the same time regrouped after months of surgeries and treatments to catch up and compare experiences. One topic that arose was how grateful they both were for the love and support they received from family, friends and even strangers. For instance, Gwen asked for someone to vacuum her always sandy floors. A friend’s HUSBAND, drove weekly for 8 months from Amesbury, to bring cheer and service. They wondered what it would have been to be impacted by financial and emotional challenges that adults face when diagnosed.
What products or services does your business provide?
Grateful Friends has two programs to help adults going through cancer treatments. Our “Little Piece of Mind” program provides financial grants to help patients with their bills or insurance deductibles due to illness from treatment and the inability to work. Often times a diagnosis brings expenses not covered by health insurance like parking costs at hospitals, high deductibles, medication co-pays, childcare etc. Bills can pile up because patients are ill from treatment and cannot work at all of as many hours. We also provide Comfort Baskets which are specially curated baskets with items that are specific to the patient and their diagnosis and treatment . For example, a woman with breast cancer, going through chemotherapy will likely lose her hair and eyebrows and have damaged nails. Her basket would have a scarf, eyebrow pencil and stick on nails. Other items would include special lotions and products to help with radiation side effects as well as some fun things to brighten their day. Each basket is valued at $125 and is not based on financial need.
What makes your business or your product unique?
Grateful Friends is unique to the Essex and Middlesex counties because we work solely with adults and our application process is simple and fast. We work primarily with area hospital oncology social workers and have a les than one week turnaround time to pay bills directly. Other organizations require substantially more paperwork and have 30-60 day turnaround.
What made you decide to become a member of the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce?
We are based on the North Shore and work primarily with Lahey area hospitals as well as MGH North Shore. Our patients live and work here and being a member of the Greater Beverly Chamber has increased that exposure.
How has the current situation with Covid-19 affected your business, and what changes have you made due to the situation?
Covid has greatly affected us and other non-profits. We had to cancel our major fundraising event last April where we were on target to raise 100K. In-person events are our lifeline and without them it has been a struggle. There was a great deal of focus on “Covid-related” causes but our patients still had cancer…some of them had cancer AND lost their income because of Covid. We have had to turn to the business community for sponsorships and ask for help as monthly corporate sponsors to underwriter the financial grants provided to patients. Thankfully, we are planning an event on Thursday, September 30th, 5-8 pm at Connemara House Farm in Topsfield to raise much-needed funds for North Shore patients with cancer.
If you’d like to contact Kim, you can email her at