H.O.P.E. Blog

H.O.P.E. Scholarship Winners—Where Are They Now?

HOPE scholarship recipients where are they nowThe winter wind may be blowing, and there may be snow on the ground (thanks, el nino), but scholarship time is just around the corner. Every year H.O.P.E. gives financial scholarship to one or more eligible, deserving high school seniors. Since we’ve been doing this for nearly two decades, we thought we’d try to touch base with some of our previous winners and see where they are today.

Taylor Derr

Red Lion High School graduate Taylor Derr is helping people transition into their “senior” years. He is a project manager for a construction company that is building assisted living complexes in northern Virginia.

After Taylor graduated in 2008, H.O.P.E. scholarship in hand, he attended Drexel University in Philadelphia. Drexel offers a special five-year program that includes a six-month, paid internship. Taylor graduated with a degree in structural engineering and a minor in construction management. It is the latter field in which he now works for Whiting Turner. Taylor is overseeing construction of multiple buildings, each containing 80-120 apartment units for senior residents. A pretty impressive responsibility for a 25-year-old.

The transition to Virginia was a little difficult at first, but Taylor keeps busy when not working. He cooks, works out at the gym, plays sports, and pursues his favorite pastime, restoring classic cars. A hobby he and his father bonded over, Taylor is working on his third car, a ‘74 Plymouth Cuda. He rebuild the engine, restored the interior, and is now repainting it. This is his first “solo” restoration. When he is finished it will be drivable, but mainly to car shows.

Taylor was in elementary school when his mother was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1996. His gratitude to H.O.P.E. goes back to that time, when he credits Kids Under Construction with helping him through her illness. He says if he returns to live in the area he would love to work with the program or something similar, having experienced the value of it first-hand.

Samantha Weekley

Samantha Weekely was one of our scholarship winners in 2011. The Eastern York High School graduate went on to attend and graduate from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Samantha chose this particular school because it requires its students to work on campus as well as perform community service while they earn their degree. The scenic setting of the Appalachian Mountains was a bonus that kept her on campus a couple summers, too.

Reaching out to help others had always been an important part of Samantha’s life, so her choice of social work as her major came as no surprise to those who know her. She graduated from Warren Wilson this past May with a BSW (Bachelor’s of Social Work) and almost immediately enrolled in a program at Millersville University to earn her Master’s of Social Work. Her interests lie in the areas of community building and social justice, and this fall she will begin an internship with Atlas, an anti-poverty initiative in Lancaster and Columbia.

High school isn’t an easy time at best, but for Sam it was compounded by the fact that both her parents were diagnosed with brain cancer. With no siblings to share the ordeal, Sam had to juggle schoolwork and doing whatever she could for her parents as they went through IV chemo and radiation treatments. She can recall dividing her time between them when they were both in the same hospital. Her dad battled his cancer for two years and died when Sam was just finishing her junior year. Her mother survived, and has now been cancer free for five years.

Although she is living on campus at Millersville, Sam is a lot closer to home than when she was in North Carolina, and her life is happily filled with school, work as a graduate assistant, family, and her cat.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (February, 2016) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

By Jean Lillquist

cervical cancer ribbonEach day, another 33 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States (about 12,000 women per year). Over 4,000 women die from cervical cancer each year.

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide.

But in the United States and other countries where cervical cancer screening is routine, this cancer is not so common. In the United States, Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and whites. American Indians and Alaskan natives have the lowest risk of cervical cancer in this country.

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control.

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer can often be successfully treated when it's found early. It is usually found at a very early stage through a Pap test.

Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife.

Most cases are found in women younger than 50. It rarely develops in women younger than 20. Many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. More than 15% of cases of cervical cancer are found in women over 65. However these cancers rarely occur in women who have been getting regular tests to screen for cervical cancer before they were 65.

Most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV.

You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it. There are many types of the HPV virus but not all types cause cervical cancer. Some of them cause genital warts, while other types may not cause any symptoms. Most adults have been infected with HPV at some time. An infection may go away on its own, but sometimes it can cause genital warts or lead to cervical cancer. That's why it's important for women to have regular Pap tests which can find changes in cervical cells before they turn into cancer. If you treat these cell changes, you may prevent cervical cancer. Young women (under 26) and teenage girls are encouraged to can get the HPV vaccine, which protects against two types of HPV that cause most cases of cervical cancer.

When present, common symptoms of cervical cancer may include:

  • Vaginal bleeding: This includes bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse or post-menopausal bleeding.
  • Unusual vaginal discharge: A watery, pink or foul-smelling discharge is common.
  • Pelvic pain: Pain during intercourse or at other times may be a sign of abnormal changes to the cervix, or less serious conditions.

Cervical cancer risk factors:

  • Pregnancy: Women who have had three or more full-term pregnancies, or who had their first full-term pregnancy before age 17, are twice as likely to get cervical cancer.
  • Family history: Women with a sister or mother who had cervical cancer are two to three times more likely to develop cervical cancer.
  • Sexual history: Certain types of sexual behavior are considered risk factors for cervical cancer and HPV infection. These include: sex before age 18, sex with multiple partners and sex with someone who has had multiple partners. Studies also show a link between chlamydia infection and cervical cancer.
  • Smoking: A woman who smokes doubles her risk of cervical cancer.
  • Oral contraceptive use: Women who take oral contraceptives for more than five years have an increased risk of cervical cancer, but this risk returns to normal within a few years after the pills are stopped.
  • Weakened immune system: In most people with healthy immune systems, the HPV virus clears itself from the body within 12-18 months. However, people with HIV or other health conditions or who take medications that limit the body’s ability to fight off infection have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2016) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).

A New Year – A New Beginning

By Jeff Hoffman

new year 2016A brand new year means a brand new beginning.

The tradition of ringing in the New Year with a resolution dates back millennia. Making a resolution doesn’t have to be some grand act. In fact psychologists believe if we keep it simple we’re more apt to achieve our goal.

For a cancer patient, ringing in the New Year can have special meaning.

For many patients, survivorship is measured in years. So being around for another year means another milestone has been achieved. But there can be more to making a resolution than just making it to the next year. Resolutions can help cancer patients aspire for a higher quality of life. Making changes that impact our physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being can have an incredible impact on survivorship. Doing something as simple as eliminating one bad habit such as daily sugary colas in your diet or adding a healthy habit like eating more fruits and vegetables, can make a huge difference in your lifestyle. Making a commitment to change your mental health by taking a walk each day or visiting a friend when you start to feel depressed can change your entire outlook on life. These resolutions not only have a positive impact on your life as a cancer patient, they can also have an impact on those that care for you.

If you are a caregiver, you too might benefit from a few resolutions.

How about making a commitment to take care of yourself as well as your loved one?  Understanding that you can’t be Superman or Wonder Woman 24/7 and taking some time for yourself might just be the thing the doctor ordered. Taking some time to read a book, take a walk, or visit a friend can go a long way toward maintaining a more positive attitude toward caregiving. Maybe your resolution is to forgive yourself for succumbing to the different feelings and emotions you experience as a caregiver. After all, we can’t be happy all the time and even saints had limits to the amount of patience they could offer.

Volunteers are the life-blood of organizations like H.O.P.E.

If you aren’t involved with an organization, maybe stepping forward to offer your talents can have a positive impact upon your well-being while also making a positive change in someone else’s life. If you are a volunteer, then you might want to resolve to become involved in a new area of work. Working with people can be extremely rewarding although it might take you out of your comfort zone. That’s okay—resolutions are about growing, having new experiences and challenging yourself to be better.

Now that you’re onboard with making a New Year’s resolution...

You might wonder how you can increase the odds that you’ll achieve your goal. You should be realistic about your goals. Make sure you have a chance to achieve your goals. Be specific as it is easier to attain specific “short-term” goals than unrealistic “over-the moon” goals. Before you establish you goal, you should make a list of “pros” and “cons. ” This will allow you to identify potential pitfalls and help keep you motivated. Talk out loud. Verbalizing the goal makes it more real than keeping some abstract ideas inside your mind. Keep track of your progress and remember to reward yourself when you achieve significant milestones. Finally, stick with it and don’t beat yourself up if you slip some.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2016) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).

A Quiet Christmas Service

Quiet Christmas ServiceQuiet



A service for those who are grieving, jobless,

battling cancer or other illnesses, facing divorce

or separation, or anyone in the valleys of life.



Sunday, December 20, 2015

12 noon

Norrisville United Methodist Church

Church Lane, behind the Norrisville Library

A reflective service that honors God in the midst of life's difficulties, when you're not in the mood for a noisy, happy Christmas.

Tribute to a Cookbook Junkie

cookbook junkie dec 2015I recently picked up a copy of Celebrating 20 Years of H.O.P.E. – a unique cookbook. You might think me foolish since I could jump online and find any recipe known to mankind in an instant – but you’d be wrong! You see, I’m the daughter of a genuine Cookbook Junkie.

As far back as I can remember, my mother loved cookbooks of all kinds. She even had sets of cookbook volumes that had been carefully accumulated, one by one. There was a set that she purchased, a-volume-a-week, from the supermarket when I was 8 years old. Of course, the iconic red-and-white checkered Better Homes & Gardens binder that dated from the mid-forties had an honored place in the kitchen. It contained all the tested recipes that she used for special family meals down through the years. At some point in the 1980’s she began collecting the annual Southern Living recipe books – gifting one to my sister and me every year without fail. Those volumes still fill a shelf in my dining room.

Quite often we’d find one of Mom’s cookbooks open on the kitchen table next to her empty coffee cup, but we still knew not to expect some delicious treat. You see, her pastime was cookbook reading, not cooking; and the books that she enjoyed the most were not the fancy Cordon Bleu style but the local and regional books compiled by the churches and other groups close by. She said what she really enjoyed in those simpler books were the recipes that included the name of the contributor because it was usually someone she knew. She also loved to read the short articles and helpful hints sprinkled throughout those books, and she often added her own notes as well.

Mom passed away last year at age 89, leaving a cookbook legacy spanning more than 65 years. Not too long after that, my sister and I spent an entire day exploring the shelves of cookbooks that filled the wall of Mom’s den. What we found was an unexpected treasure. Between the pages of many of her favorite books were handwritten recipes penned on everything from fancy note cards and greeting cards to brown paper and napkins – all passed along from friends and long lost family members. But the real prize was finding all the personal items tucked inside the pages – family pictures, first-grade art, school report cards, letters, newspaper articles and much more.

No, those local cookbooks with their faded, dog-eared pages are so much more than collections of recipes. They’re precious storybooks that can’t be replaced.

Perhaps you know a cookbook junkie, too. If so, then you know there is likely no gift they’d cherished more than a cookbook – especially one with stories sprinkled throughout. So, as I sit here leafing through my copy of Celebrating 20 Years of H.O.P.E., recognizing many of the contributors’ names as my friends and neighbors, I dare to dream that my grandchildren might one day spend time exploring everything I plan to tuck between the pages for them to discover.

Is it time to start a new tradition in your family?   No better time than the present to get your own copy of Celebrating 20 Years of H.O.P.E. and see where it leads. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Guest blogger, Pam Hoffman, is a long-time resident of southern York County and friend of H.O.P.E.

HOPE Angel Corner by Barbara Titanish

christmas angel 600wDid you notice all the angels this year? They were hovering over H.O.P.E. for sure, generating support and money and love. We thanked many in this year’s newsletters, but we’d like to thank them again as well as those who haven’t received recognition in print.

Where would we be without our regulars? New Freedom Family Restaurant has been hosting a doldrums-lifting winter pasta dinner for H.O.P.E. for years and years. UTA Karate kids have probably broken a gazillion boards by now for our cancer families. Bonkey’s and Summers have scooped gallons and gallons of ice cream to create their special H.O.P.E. sundaes, and how many hundreds (thousands) of rounds have our golfers played in our Take a Swing for Cancer and Bon Air Country Club tournaments?

Athletes and not-so-athletes walked and ran to raise money in the Better Father For It Walk, and flying Frisbees also brought in donations courtesy of Stewartstown’s Ultimate Frisbee Players’ Association. Phil and Donna Franco’s Southern York County Ravens Nest peeps have provided support and delicious food at too many functions to begin to list, and our local civic Lions, Lionesses, VFW, and Sertoma Club of York always respond when we reach out.

And don’t forget the “lady bikers.” Engines roared up and down many a road for H.O.P.E., thanks to the Twin Rose Lady Riders, the Mid-Atlantic Women on Wheels, the Lady Harley Riders, and the Pink Bra Poker Run participants. These ladies have huge hearts.

Finally, where would we be without our regular donors? These are the people who quietly fill a back-to-school backpack every year; attend fundraisers and bid on auction items; donate beautiful handmade blankets, quilts, pajamas, hats, etc.; and help finance holidays for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have them. As well we recognize the many businesses who always donate quality items for our silent auctions and provide sponsorship in other ways. One more thank you goes out to Eugene George and Sherman Lauther for their overwhelming generosity.

For many cancer patients and their families, Christmas is anything but a festive time of year. Illness and financial worries take much of the anticipation and fun out of the holiday. We are blessed every year with families who give Christmas to a cancer family, and blessed also that five local organizations put up “mitten” Christmas trees with gift requests for our kids. Thank you Mason Dixon Baptist Church, Stewartstown Baptist Church, Stewartstown Presbyterian Church, the Rail Trail Café, and UTA Karate (again!). Thank you also Ten Perfect Nails and customers, whose tips from July through December are rerouted to Christmas for one of our families.

H.O.P.E. is its volunteers and its angels. Without these, thousands of people would not have been assisted over the 21 years we’ve been reaching out to help.

The Angel Corner is taken from the H.O.P.E. Lifeline newsletter (December, 2015)

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