LANSING, Mich. — Losing a loved one is never easy. This week’s Good Neighbor says it was one of the hardest things she’s ever gone through.
However, Elizabeth Read says she found inspiration in something her mom said before she died and is now using that message to help others.
“I decided, well, if there is no one to help, then we will be the people to help,” Read said.
Read established the nonprofit T.W.I.G.S (her mom’s nickname) to take care of the everyday needs of cancer patients.
“I started T.W.I.G.S because I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer four years ago. And while she was fighting cancer, she noticed that she's very lucky to have the things we are now providing cancer patients, like rides to appointments and housekeeping and yard care," Read said.
Fortunately, Read’s mom Nancy was able to spend quality time with her family and friends before she died in 2018. Nancy told Read before her death, "what do people do that don't have our resources?"
“So, after her passing, I wanted to find a way to get back to the cancer community. And this is what I came up with,” Read said.
T.W.I.G.S is made up of volunteers willing to lend a helping hand to people like Trisha Batterson-Sharma, who was diagnosed with stage three triple-negative breast cancer.
“Unfortunately, it metastasized to my brain this summer. So, I had two surgeries, brain surgeries, and then, radiation to the brain," Batterson-Sharma said. "But she helped a lot with cleaning the house and leading and organizing things. And I have four kids, the youngest ones just turned 3, 3-year-old twins.”
Trisha is in remission but says she is forever thankful for T.W.I.G.S who helped her when she needed it the most.
Since launching this past April, volunteers have logged 174 hours helping transport 13 cancer patients with rides to and from treatments, eight house cleanings and several more yard cleanups.
Regina Carter, from Okemos, is a huge supporter of T.W.I.G.S.
“The work fills a gap in our community where people are left without support, people who cannot or do not have the finances or insurance to support them during their cancer journey," Carter said. "And the thing that is so amazing about Elizabeth is that she finds a way. When you are so motivated because your story is so close to your heart. There's no stopping you. We need to support Elizabeth in what she's doing because it is helping our community, and when our community is strong and healthy, we can do great things.”
Jenny Smith agrees.
“T.W.I.G.S is an amazing organization. And what I love about it is, even though she went through all the grief and pain that she did, she found a way to help others,” Smith said.
We want to thank Elizabeth Read and all the T.W.I.G.S volunteers. You are this week’s Good Neighbors.
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