Gems of Hope Has Many Facets


If you’ve spent time at The Ghosh Center, you’ve probably seen cards like the one pictured here. Each card features an inspirational quote and comes with a gift – from a hope stone, earrings or a bookmark to a serenity ring that can be added to a necklace or keychain.

The cards are provided free of charge by Gems of Hope, a local nonprofit with a mission of bringing hope to cancer patients and their families. They are handcrafted by cancer survivors, family members, friends and caring community volunteers. In addition to creating the uplifting cards, volunteers package and deliver them to cancer patients and local cancer practices.

Gems of Hope was founded in 2005 by Sheila Harmon, Cindy Sale and Beth Hammell. Each of them had been affected by cancer and knew the power of encouragement in promoting hope and healing. Says Beth, “Medicine isn’t the only healer, it’s also the support of family, friends and coworkers.”

Make a Difference

Every month, card-making workshops are held in the Cedar Rapids / Iowa City area at different locations. Gems of Hope even holds workshops in southeast Wisconsin, where Pam Price has established a location. Volunteers are needed to help with workshops and to assist with office needs and special projects. Donations of supplies, such as scrapbooking paper and rubber cement, are always welcome. Many people who’ve received gifts from the program become volunteers and bless others through their involvement.

Learn about card-making workshops.

Find out how to volunteer.

Support for All Ages

Cancer affects everyone in the family – from the person with the diagnosis to children, teens and other family members. That’s why Gems of Hope has programs for everyone.

Hope Blooms

Did you see daffodils everywhere last week? The bright yellow blooms brought happiness to people all around our community through the Hope Blooms program. This program, with sponsorship from organizations like The Ghosh Center, funds Gem’s activities and events all year long.

This year Hope Blooms delivered over 400 bouquets of daffodils to cancer patients in treatment in the area and nearly 400 Monkey Hugs to sick children in treatment. In addition, nearly 36,000 daffodils were spread throughout the community with orders from local community members and businesses. That’s a lot of sunshine!

What About Us?

This half-day program helps children ages 5-12 identify, communicate and cope with their feelings when someone close to them has been diagnosed with cancer. What About Us? is facilitated by social workers with special training in cancer counseling. Children participate in activities and projects designed to help them understand and express their feelings. At the end of each session, the children participate in yoga giving the social workers the opportunity to meet with the parents.

Cancer Really Sucks

This website connects and supports teenagers who have loved ones facing cancer. They can share their story, read stories from other teens and get access to resources, suggestions for coping - even music playlists.

Scholarships for Teens

This year, Gems of Hope will award up to 12 $15,000 scholarships to area high school seniors. The scholarships are for teens who’ve been personally affected by cancer, meaning they’ve been previously diagnosed by cancer or have an immediate family member (parent or sibling) with cancer.

Download the application and learn more about the scholarship program.

More Opportunities and Events

You’ll find additional programs and events at their website from a library resource program to an upcoming golf tournament. Go to Gems of Hope to see the many ways this organization gives back to our community and learn how to get involved.

Michelle LeCompteComment