Dear Love Bus supporters,
This holiday season, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for each and every member of our community. The past year has been a testament to the boundless generosity, unwavering dedication, and immeasurable love that emanates from all corners of our network, and we are extremely grateful. Whether by providing generous gifts, showing up for Love Bus events, volunteering your time, sharing our mission, or providing words of love and encouragement to our children and families - every single effort, no matter how large or small, has played an integral role in making 2023 an extraordinary chapter in our journey. Looking ahead to 2024, I am inspired by the profound impact we've made together and emboldened to envision even greater possibilities. As we come to the end of 2023, I look back humbled by this incredible year of growth, and I’m excited to share our vision for 2024!
One and a half years ago, Co-Founder Beecher Grogan and our Board of Directors chose me to take Love Bus into the future, throwing me both the real and metaphorical keys to Lucy’s Love Bus and the very real title of Executive Director. In that time, with your support, Love Bus has helped over 512 children with cancer, 113 siblings and 87 caregivers across all six New England states, at five children’s hospitals, and through 150 virtual and in-person group programs. YOU have made this possible, thanks to your unwavering belief that the world’s bravest children deserve fun, comfort, and freedom from pain and anxiety right now – THANK YOU for believing in Love Bus to be that vehicle of joy!
As I transitioned into the role of Executive Director, Beecher stepped into a brand new role, creating, implementing, and growing the Ilene’s Caregivers program– the final piece of the puzzle in supporting the entire family of a child with cancer, creating the full support system that Beecher herself needed when Lucy was sick. This wouldn’t be possible without funding from The Ilene Beal Foundation, The Parmenter Foundation, and you!
Having constructed a solid and proven framework for the Ilene’s Caregivers program, Beecher’s transition away from Love Bus continues to move forward as she has planned. She and I have functioned as a tight twosome for ten years, and worked closer than ever over the last year and a half as we walked and danced a mile (and then some!) in each other’s shoes, with renewed appreciation for each other’s skill sets and our unique bond that allowed this transition to happen in this special way.
Beecher and I are excited to share that she will begin training her replacement, Colleen Tierney, in early 2024, before settling in as a member of our robust network of contracted practitioners, offering her support to Love Bus families as a trained end-of-life doula and respite retreat host! We have both worked closely with Colleen, who is also an LLB parent, through her parent and family support-focused roles at Tufts Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber/Boston Children’s. We look forward to introducing you to Colleen and the other new faces at Love Bus (four new board members!) early next year!
Throughout her tenure, Beecher has been a tireless advocate for families facing childhood cancer, and her passion and dedication have shaped Lucy's Love Bus into the impactful organization it is today. We want to express our deepest gratitude to Beecher for her vision, leadership, and unwavering commitment to Lucy's Love Bus over the past 18 years. Her legacy will continue to inspire us as we move forward, ensuring that Love Bus remains a powerful light of hope and comfort to countless children and families facing childhood cancer. If you’d like to add a message to Beecher’s virtual farewell card, you can do so by clicking here.
While there is no perfect time to make this step, Beecher shares why she and the Board believe that now is the best time: “Love Bus is thriving and growing beautifully under Jackie's leadership, and the time has come for me to step back and let go so that Love Bus can evolve and grow in ways Lucy and I never could have imagined when she originally mapped out her vision for Love Bus from her hospital bed back in 2006. I am excited about my next chapter and know that I am leaving the future of Love Bus in the very best, and most capable hands and hearts.”
We will amplify our efforts in 2024 to address common barriers to accessing critical quality of life support that many childhood cancer families face, including hiring an additional part-time program manager to support our Spanish-speaking families. Adding two new program staff members will also allow us to focus our efforts on casting as wide a net as possible in pursuit of our ultimate goal: to make sure that all current and recovering childhood cancer patients and families know that Love Bus is here for them, wherever they are in their childhood cancer journey – facing a new diagnosis, coping with a transition to end of life, or navigating post-treatment and long term survivorship – and all that lies between and beyond.
By supporting Lucy's Love Bus, you are not only making a difference today, but you are also offering hope and respite to countless children and families who are enduring the unimaginable– giving them support for whatever comes next in their journey. Your contributions help these families navigate the challenges of childhood cancer with strength, resilience, and a sense of community that is irreplaceable. We are deeply thankful for your commitment to making a meaningful impact, and we look forward to continuing this vital work together to bring comfort and healing to those who need it most.
Your compassion and generosity are nothing short of extraordinary– thank you!!
Sending love and light to you and yours this holiday season,