Sherri Romanoski, Founder of BAG IT, transitioned from the position of Executive Director to a new role of Senior Advisor in April, 2017. This is a blog about what she is doing now with and for BAG IT.
So everyone asks….are you really retired? The answer is a robust “NO!” But I was very ready to slow down, change gears somewhat, enjoy the people in my life more (my five grandchildren, family and friends) and take time for things I really enjoy. This transition took a lot of planning and patience, but it is actually happening! (Look for my next blog on the complex subject of Founders leaving organizations.)
So what does a Senior Advisor do? I get to focus on areas that benefit BAG IT but also tap into my skills acquired over the years working with BAG IT, my classroom teaching, curriculum writing, and grant writing. Who gets to do that? Use all their skills and experience to advance a worthwhile effort? A very happy person!
Grant writing is a technical skill that benefits an organization to bring in much needed revenue as well as raise awareness and effectiveness of programs. Since April, I have been focused on submitting or helping with submissions of 15 grants for both BAG IT and one of its programs, ESCAPE to Thrive Leadership Conference for Cancer Advocates. We are hopeful that many will award funding. Our grants are submitted to foundations, corporations, and partners.
ESCAPE to Thrive Leadership Conference for Cancer Advocates was launched in 2011. It’s an interesting story…BAG IT had been helping USOncology with its Life Beyond Cancer Conference (LBC) for survivors for eight years beginning in 2003. Those of us who developed, organized, and managed the conference had a hope – to someday support survivors who were encouraged to return to their communities from Life Beyond Cancer and fill gaps in cancer care with organizations, programs, and efforts. In essence, become advocates. (The seed for BAG IT was actually planted at this conference in 2001 when my mom and I, both cancer survivors, attended and got truly inspired.) After much deliberation, when the LBC run came to a close, the key people were tired and ready to move on. Except for me. With approval from a very understanding BAG IT Board that was willing to pilot an extremely unique conference, we launched ESCAPE to Thrive. That was seven years ago. I am responsible for its development, conceptual framework, and management with tremendous support and expertise from our amazing BAG IT staff. The topics, attendees, speakers, and schedule changes each year but fundamentally, it supports cancer advocates in the tremendously tough job they do in educating and supporting cancer patients.
ESCAPE to Thrive is a lot of heart-wrenching work on many levels. I love it. I hope I have the energy to keep doing it and we can get enough financial support to continue this supportive program for fellow advocates. It’s our gift to them.
The third and most lovely task I have is to mentor and support our new young leader and Executive Director, Mindy Griffith. She believes so much in our work, is anxious to learn, and shows an intense desire to lead BAG IT to its next level. I have been a teacher in one form or another since 1974. Mentoring Mindy is a joy and I anticipate and expect great things from her….including change!
Roche Tissue Diagnostics (RTD) has been a BAG IT sponsor since 2004. Founded by University of Arizona pathologist Dr. Thomas Grogan in 1985 and located in Oro Valley, RTD is a leader and innovator of tissue-based diagnostic solutions for patients worldwide. The company is committed to its mission of improving the lives of all patients afflicted with cancer.
In addition to sponsoring our annual Take a Hike for BAG IT since its inception in 2004 and the ESCAPE to Thrive Leadership Conference for cancer advocates, RTD also supports BAG IT by:
- Participating in Roche Gives Back – an employee giving program in which employees can choose to make one-time or recurring payroll deductions to BAG IT. Whatever employees give, Roche will match at 100 percent until the employee has met their annual cap.
- Encouraging volunteer participation through the company’s summer intern community service program.
- Distributing BAG IT bags to employees/families diagnosed with cancer through RTD’s occupational
- Providing DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS! RTD employees participate in our annual hike, writing thank you notes, serving as ambassadors in the community and more.
Roche Tissue Diagnostics is a strong Bag IT supporter as we strive to Educate, Support and Empower those with cancer. The dedication, enthusiasm and efforts of the RTD team are greatly appreciated by BAG IT and we thank you for all you do to help Fight the Fear of Cancer!
Eisai has been a great friend of BAG IT for over eight years! Eisai is a global pharmaceutical company addressing unmet medical needs. Eisai is committed to making contributions to better healthcare for patients and their families around the world through its business activities. When we were developing the concept for our national ESCAPE to Thrive Leadership Conference for Cancer Advocates, Eisai believed in our vision and stepped up as the Founding Sponsor to help us launch the program. Since then, they continue to be our Presenting Sponsor and feel deeply committed to our efforts to help other cancer advocates across the country. Teresa Cronin, Eisai’s Corporate Advocacy Director, put it this way:
“I heard from many participants that most patient conferences are running around to sessions, meetings and social media activities. This conference actually allows patient advocates to restore balance in their lives, reinvigorate their passion for advocacy while getting important updates on latest trends in healthcare. It also reminds patient advocates to take care of their own wellbeing in order to continue their important work in patient advocacy. As a sponsor I am always amazed at the transformation you see over the conference.”
Thank you, Eisai, for your dedication to ESCAPE to Thrive and improving patient care through advocates.
To find out more about Eisai and their contributions to patient care click here
To read more about ESCAPE to Thrive click here
- Arizona Oncology medical providers and staff across Arizona offer cancer patients and families a BAG IT bag at their first office visit as part of their focus on providing excellent, comprehensive oncology care. They know that BAG IT will help their patients cope with their diagnosis and treatment and encourage them to be part of their care team.
- Arizona Oncology supports BAG IT with donations and event sponsorships to assist us in providing BAG IT to their patients.
- Dr. Donald Brooks of Arizona Oncology offered his time and expertise as a Founding Board member and has remained dedicated to BAG IT as a Board member since 2003.
We want to extend our thanks to two fabulous partners that help us Fight the Fear! Both of these locally owned businesses are partners, supporters and advocates of BAG IT and make a huge difference in our operations.
Xcel Delivery Services started delivering BAG IT bags in Tucson in 2013. Xcel is your one stop solution for logistics, warehousing and distribution needs and BAG IT benefits from all of them. Their team stores materials for us and delivers BAG IT bags to the medical providers across Tucson. As with many, cancer hits home for Mark and Kelly and they kindly provide these services for us. Their caring hearts and friendly service have been a blessing to BAG IT from day one and we are fortunate to have them as a partner.
Arizona Lithographers is another Tucson community partner and they have supported BAG IT since 2011. AZ Litho has over 65 years of leadership experience in the printing industry and provides a variety of high-quality print materials. As BAG IT prints the materials in the binder we needed someone local who could support our demands. AZ Litho has been fantastic in the quality of the publications, meeting timelines and providing feedback in a timely manner. AZ Litho also helps to provide the best price and assists with the printing costs of our annual Take a Hike for BAG IT fundraiser. The team is kind, attentive and supportive and we are thankful to have them as a partner.
We are ecstatic to once again be a beneficiary of Epic Rides 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo presented by Tucson Medical Center this coming weekend. BAG IT has benefited from
this incredible 24 Hour single track mountain bike event for six years.
Epic Rides provides mountain biking events that are popular because they offer challenging, fun riding and emphasize the joy and camaraderie inherent in the sport.
Here’s to the incredible individuals who make #24HOP, the Off-Road Series and the Tour of the White Mountains events happen to the dynamic participants and spectators who enjoy the great outdoors! we are thrilled to partner with them all.
Epic Rides and the participants support BAG IT through their:
- Participation registration in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo event
- Visits to the BAG IT tent to get updated information on coping with cancer
- Signing our “in honor of” and “in memory of” signs for those impacted by cancer
- Making individual donations at our booth on race day
To all of those who are riding in #24Hop and the entire Epic Rides team we thank you for your support and helping to Fight the Fear of Cancer!
Volunteers are still needed to help with the event this weekend so sign up here to support the fun.
Tucson Medical Center is a long-time partner and advocate of BAG IT. The TMC Foundation has been providing financial support to BAG IT since 2005 and Tucson Medical Center has been providing BAG IT bags to patients since 2006. Their mission to educate and promote health, wellness and safety throughout Southern Arizona is evident in the many programs they offer, including providing BAG IT bags.
TMC is an advocate for BAG IT and provides numerous opportunities to ensure that individuals are receiving the tools needed to help them cope with a cancer diagnosis.
- BAG IT provides training to all new nurses so they have an understanding of the BAG IT bag and know that it is available throughout the TMC campus.
- BAG IT participates in TMC events including Survive Well and Philanthropy Day
- Many individuals at TMC, including nurse navigators and social workers consider the BAG IT bag to be one of their main resource tools for patient education.
Thank you to the dynamic team at Tucson Medical Center and the TMC Foundation for advocating for individuals with cancer and all that you do to support BAG IT and the Tucson Community.