Gateway to Hope has supported more than 1,000 breast cancer patients in Missouri and parts of Illinois since its founding in 2005. At its 8th annual KaleidoHope Gala fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 7 (coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month), the St. Louis-based non-profit will reflect on its patient milestone, celebrate survivor stories, and recognize individuals who have helped the organization move successfully into its second decade of assisting breast cancer patients.
 
KaleidoHope, taking place at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, will benefit area women currently being treated for breast cancer. Gateway to Hope’s unique program provides emotional support and financial assistance by helping remove barriers that keep women from getting the treatment they need. The organization provides breast cancer patients with health insurance premium assistance along with critical everyday living expenses. This can include anything from help with the rent and utilities to providing gas cards to get to treatment and critical medications. Gateway to Hope is funded entirely by the generosity of corporations, individual donors and institutions.
 
“We’ve found that for many women, it’s not just the diagnosis of breast cancer that puts fear into their heart; it’s the other challenges,” said Tracy Gellman, Development Coordinator at Gateway to Hope. “Will I get fired? Will I be able to drive my kids to school during treatment? If I lose my job or am put on leave, will I still have health insurance to cover my treatment?  How sick am I going to be? Will my COBRA insurance cover the cost of treatment? How can we keep up with mortgage and utility payments? Our clinical staff answers these and hundreds of other questions when newly diagnosed breast cancer patients call our lifeline.”
According to Gellman, there was a 45 percent increase last year in the number of new patients calling for advice on what to do, who to turn to, and how to cope, following their diagnosis. 
 
One of Gateway to Hope’s patients, Holly Webb, will receive special recognition at the KaleidoHope gala. As a 33-year-old single mother of two, Webb was in the midst of studying physical therapy full-time in order to better provide for her family when she received her surprising breast cancer diagnosis. Uninsured at the time and concerned how she would afford the necessary treatment while caring for her family and attending school, Webb was guided to Gateway to Hope by the support services at Mercy Hospital. Gateway to Hope helped Webb navigate the insurance market and covered the cost of her monthly health insurance premiums as she went through extensive treatment, including a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. The organization also provided financial assistance for the young mom’s rent, utilities, and gas (for transportation to and from her treatments), alleviating the financial burden that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis so she could focus on healing.  
 
“Gateway to Hope is open-armed and ready to assist,” Webb said. “There were so many unknowns when I was diagnosed. As a single mother of two precious children, I was terrified of having no insurance and going into debt in order to receive treatment. Thanks to Gateway to Hope, I am here today and able to be mama. Having finished school last August, I’m excited to join the medical field so I too can help others.” 
 
Tom Gunn, Steven Krause and George Roman, three St. Louis powerhouse defense experts, are being recognized by Gateway to Hope for their work in creating a strategic plan that will allow the organization to survive the future unknowns of the insurance landscape. At KaleidoHope, they will be honored as the 2017 Gateway to Hope Visionary Award recipients.
 
For the past three years, Gunn, Krause and Roman have worked diligently to execute an in-depth review of Gateway to Hope’s mission and practices and create a disciplined strategic plan, applying the same methodology they use with success in creating the country’s national defense systems.
 
Gunn, a former U.S. Senate staff lawyer has held multiple rolls from vice president of marketing to president of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company and, later, president, of McDonnell Douglas International. He also authored a book titled “Gunn Sights.” Krause, while currently a consultant for a high-caliber Washington D.C.-based government relations and public affairs firm, held past roles in Boeing’s defense business including, international growth strategy, border security and military and civilian aviation programs. A former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, Krause has completed assignments throughout Europe, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East and the U.S. Roman, now a principal at Roman Consulting, has held multiple corporate positions including vice president and chief of staff for Boeing’s Washington, D.C. office and vice president of business development for the company’s aircraft and missile systems, to name a few. Their accolades and board appointments are many and far-reaching.
This year’s KaleidoHope emcee is Fox 2 News anchor Jasmine Huda. Event co-chairs are Susie Knopf and Phyllis Langsdorf.
 
Centene Charitable Foundation is this year’s title sponsor. Additional major sponsors include Ameren, Metro Imaging, Parkcrest Plastic Surgery, Simons Jewelers, Roman Consulting and Susan and Rick Sullivan.
 
Since 2010, Gateway to Hope’s signature KaleidoHope Gala has raised more than $1.7 million. This year’s Oct. 7 event is scheduled from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Tickets start at $200 and include a seated dinner, silent and live auctions, unique interactive entertainment, and award presentations.
 
For more information or to purchase tickets for the event, please visit www.kaleidohopestl.org or call Tracy Gellman at 314-569-1113.  M
 
Via Press Release
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