How Successful Women are Building Their Businesses And Making a Difference
Jen Coffel lost her mother, father and best friend to cancer in less than two years. In 2010, she partnered with her long-time friend and cancer survivor Kim Bavilacqua to create Handing H.O.P.E., a nonprofit supporting children with cancer. She is responsible for the vision, strategy, and national fundraising efforts for Handing H.O.P.E. and the Lollipop Tree Project as it grows and expands across the country.
Handing H.O.P.E.’s mission is to bring smiles to children battling cancer nationwide. They provide sugar-free lollipop trees to children’s cancer clinics, hospitals, and camps across the country in the hope of brightening a child’s day.
“I have four children and I saw the cancer stats for kids and I wanted to make a difference,” Coffel remembers. “I know that the treatment makes their mouths taste bad. I remember talking with a woman one day. She and her son both had cancer and that’s how the idea came about, so Kim and I filled out the 503 application.”
In 2011, they got approved as a 503(c), then Coffel received some shocking news.
“My best friend called me and told me they found tumors in her head,” says Coffel. “We were in the battle together. I went to all her appointments with her. Then my dad got cancer, fought for 6 months and died, and then my mom got cancer and died 8 months later. My best friend, stayed with me through all of that, and then she died three months later.”
On December 31, 2015, Jen Coffel made her first call to a hospital and started getting her lollipop trees distributed.
Her book, Be Well Assured: At The Heart of Cancer There Is H.O.P.E., was released in October 2016 and helps Coffel and Bavilacqua spread their message. Her publisher, Advantage Media Group|ForbesBooks, absorbed a majority of the costs as Coffel and Bavilacqua were the winners of the Advantage Impact program.
“I love the fact that we have a tool to give people,” says Coffel. “People often give our book as a gift. It’s so good to know that we are putting hope in the hands of people who are in the battle. I love knowing that.”
Advantage Impact is a program at Advantage Media Group|ForbesBooks dedicated to helping worth nonprofits share their stories with the world. The program was created based on two strong beliefs of the Advantage Family. First, the right book, in the right hands, at the right time, can change a person’s life forever. Second, publishing your own book can be a powerful marketing tool that is used directly to promote your cause, raise community awareness, and garner support. Since 2005, Advantage has helped over 1,000 business professionals around the globe write, publish, and market a book to grow their business.
“I saw an opportunity to help someone who was passionate about fighting cancer,” says Keith Kopcsak, VP of Authority Marketing at Advantage Media Group|ForbesBooks. “She had a good message to share and she was a great fit for our Advantage Impact Program.”
However, Coffel has channelled her passion for life into even more than a nonprofit organization and a book. She has used her struggle and passion to create the Courageous Woman Movement. Her goal is to empower and equip one million female entrepreneurs around the world to live out their dreams in business and in life.
“Having lost my mom, dad, and best friend to cancer at young ages, I don’t take a minute of my life for granted. I think BIG,” says Coffel. “I want to leave a memorable legacy. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. I want to live my life so that my children can tell their children that I not only stood for something wonderful — I acted on it! I want to encourage one million women to do the same.”
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*WPO would like to thank Advantage|Forbes Books for providing this week’s sponsor blog content.