Forge in the News

Wigs for chemotherapy-related hair loss can be expensive and are not often covered by insurance for cancer patients. To fill this need, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center partnered with Paul Mitchell The School Birmingham to provide fresh, clean and styled wigs for Alabama breast cancer patients.

Hearing the words “breast cancer” may be the loneliest moment some women ever face. However, from the day of diagnosis, patients in the five-county Birmingham metro area are never alone. They have the support, resources, and volunteers of Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center to stand with them.

Forge’s Executive Director, Lauren Roberts, was named one of 2022’s Who’s Who in Nonprofits from the Birmingham Business Journal. Read more here.

A total of five individuals were named to the board. “They bring a diversity of perspective, experience, and knowledge to the table, which will make us a stronger organization – better able to serve all Alabama breast cancer patients, survivors, and co-survivors,” said Lauren Roberts, Forge BCSC Executive Director, to the Birmingham Times.

Cancer stinks. But for those with breast cancer, there’s help. Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center offers untold resources and community for breast cancer survivors and those who love them across the Greater Birmingham Area. Read this Bham Now article to find out about Forge, what they do + how you can get involved.

Never Strangers for Long - November 7, 2021

When challenging things happen in life, we turn to our loved ones for support and camaraderie — and in some cases, we might also turn to strangers. They don’t stay strangers for long, of course; with fellowship and shared experiences, these new people become part of our journey. Such is the case with local survivors of breast cancer who have shared their time through the Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center, according to the Birmingham Lifestyle Magazine.

Often when discussing a breast cancer diagnosis, we talk about the patient’s medical needs. But now, more than ever, we realize that patients and survivors need additional support and services not met by physicians. And places like Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center are working to fill those gaps. Thanks to WVTM 13 for sharing about us.

Forge aims to assist breast cancer patients with a variety of issues that arise as a result of their diagnosis. The list varies from free mental health and financial counseling to gift cards for groceries and transportation to appointments. Thanks, Birmingham Times, for featuring Forge!

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center will host its first Haute Pink Fashion Show. The show will be Thursday, October 14 at WorkPlay. It will feature 10 women who are either currently going through breast cancer treatment or breast cancer survivors, modeling customized fashion created for them by 10 Birmingham designers. Money raised from the night will benefit Forge’s mission to improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.

Helena Police Department is taking part in the Pink Patch Project throughout the month of October, selling pink patches and stickers to raise money for Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center is introducing a fundraiser celebrating patients and survivors.

Haute Pink is a fashion show designed to inspire those affected by cancer and raise awareness for Forge’s mission to build a community of survivors and volunteers to help patients navigate their breast cancer journey.

Thanks to ABC 33/40 Talk of Alabama for featuring Forge’s own Claire Gray, as she shares information about our new upcoming fundraiser: Haute Pink.

Thank you to ABC 33/40 Talk Of Alabama for having our Executive Director Lauren Roberts on to share about Forge and all of the resources we provide to Alabama breast cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones.

Audra Chiles has come a long way in her battle with breast cancer. Diagnosed two years ago, Chiles faced different circumstances than many older patients, such as being able to maintain her energy while enduring grueling chemotherapy. With the help of Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center in Birmingham, she found additional strength to face those difficulties. Chiles is back to health, is starting a new job and is happily married.

Our region was forged from steel, and breast cancer survivors are, too. However, much like Birmingham’s Vulcan, the god of the Forge, those battling breast cancer need a strong support base to stand tall and shine. Fortunately, Forge Survivorship Center is here to provide support, community, education, and empowerment; a friend to walk alongside them and their loved ones from the day of diagnosis through the balance of life.

When you’re going through a tough time, having a support system in place can make a huge difference. These Birmingham nonprofits aim to be and create that system for families and individuals who need it most. Check it out!

Delaying mammograms during Covid can have serious consequences. Learn more in this CBS 42 piece featuring Forge’s director, Lauren Roberts.

Magic City Newsmakers - June 22, 2020

Janet Dees has been hired by Forge Survivorship Center as client services coordinator and Lauren Roberts has been named executive director.

On the heels of a headquarters move and a new 501(c)3 status, Forge Survivorship Center has a named Lauren Roberts as its new executive director.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center has moved its headquarters into a historic home.

“Raising Our Voices” on March 14 - February 27, 2020

Stories from Alabamians impacted by cancer have shaped an original dance work that will be performed Saturday, March 14, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Forge is delighted to partner this spring with UAB and the renowned Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater for Raising Our Voices.

Forge is excited to partner with the UAB Integrative Medicine Clinic at the Kirklin Clinic for this groundbreaking project which celebrates survivors’ stories through art and movement.

“One of the most amazing aspects of Forge is how these health systems have come together to serve this community,” says Forge Director Caroline McClain. For years, four regional health systems have met regularly with the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham’s Women’s Breast Health Fund to form an unprecedented partnership in supporting breast cancer survivors and their loved ones.

“I’m trying to share what helps me to help other people,” says Forge participant Sharon Cook about her mandala practice. “That’s the important part of this. Pay attention to the sunrise or flowers or friends visiting, or whatever you can find to smile about. A positive, hopeful attitude does improve quality of life.”

A trained breast cancer advocate for Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center in Birmingham, Carla Youngblood shares her experiences and her time, giving newly diagnosed patients a positive outlook.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center has hired Christina Schmitt as volunteer coordinator.

“We want to empower individuals to find a voice that is louder than cancer and take back their lives.”

Betty Shivers and Michelle Mills have a lot in common, both being cancer survivors. The two women live in Vestavia Hills with only a few streets separating them, but they may never have met if not for their involvement with Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center.

BBJ’s magic City Newsmakers - August 26, 2019

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center has implemented a new Young Breast Cancer Education and Support Group.

BBJ’s Magic City Newsmakers - August 20, 2019

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center has hired two new employees. Claire Gray is manager of community outreach and Alaina Pineda is program and data coordinator.

BBJ’s Magic City Newsmakers - August 12, 2019

The Birmingham Business Journal shared about Forge’s upcoming fall programs!

Forge’s Healthcare Professional Lunch & Learns are designed to specifically address the needs of healthcare professionals who serve the breast cancer community as well as anyone who has ever been diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones.

“We are delighted to host this important Lunch & Learn series as part of our ongoing commitment to offering resources, extension services, and continuing education that will ultimately improve the well-being and quality of life of our breast cancer survivors.”

Forge is in the news again getting recognized for our recent donation from Wind Creek Hospitality!

Thanks to a $25,000 donation from Wind Creek Hospitality (WCH), Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center (FORGE) and its clients are not fighting alone.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center (Forge) and the UAB Integrative Medicine Clinic partnered to host a free Lunch & Learn discussing the importance, benefits, and practical ways to implement self-care techniques for healthcare professionals, breast cancer survivors, and co-survivors.

The gift from Wind Creek Hospitality will help Forge provide breast cancer survivors and co-survivors with supportive services from day of diagnosis through their lives.

“For one in eight women, breast cancer is a likely reality. News of diagnosis is sobering, heart-breaking and terrifying. That is where Forge steps in to assist and support patients in all stages of the fight. Forge’s care of and concern for local fighters and survivors is inspiring.”

An exciting new Birmingham-based biotech company and Friend of Forge is making an impact on the cancer community.

A new monthly lifestyle program is helping breast cancer survivors come together and get moving. “We try to make sure that those who are participating can come not only to have community and support and friendship with the people that are there, but then also they can learn something new and take it with them after the class to be able to practice.”

ABC 33/40 television news anchor and two-time Breast Cancer Survivor, Brenda Ladun, will be the keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Wings of Hope Cancer Support Expo hosted by Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center and Captsone Rural Health.

Watch Talk of Alabama’s segment on Forge’s 2nd Annual Wings of Hope Cancer Support Expo in partnership with Capstone Rural Health.

Congratulations to our Director Caroline McClain, Forge Leadership Team Member Chris Nanni of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, partner Beth Bradner Davis of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, partner Kate O’Day of Gateway, and partner Shannon Ammons of Alabama Association of Nonprofits for being honored as Who’s Who in Nonprofits by Birmingham Business Journal! Their work is so important to our mission at Forge and to our overall community.

Congratulations to our Director Caroline McClain who was honored as Birmingham’s Top 40 Under 40! This award is the most prestigious honor for young professionals who will be the leaders for Birmingham’s economy for years to come.

Revolution requires many players. A disease is rarely cured in isolation, and even then many more people must act in order to carry a solution into the world. So it is with any philanthropic effort. Mountain Brook and its surroundings are filled with change agents whose passions fuel revolutionary efforts. Their stories can inspire others to come alongside or launch other projects that will shape the community for good. Forge Survivor, Project Advisor and Volunteer, Susan Sellers is one of these Change Agents.

Camp Bluebird offers respite, camaraderie, and fun to cancer survivors from all health systems. Forge provides unique, educational, and fun programming during this biannual adult camp.

An inspiring story of family, love, and sacrifice. Lacie shares how cancer diagnoses have impacted not only her, but also her mother, and how they have overcome unexpected challenges together. She says: “now I can speak from a place of experience with cancer.”

Survivorship has become an important subject for those in the cancer community and here’s how Forge defines it.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center brings hope and wholeness in recovery to breast cancer survivors and their loved ones in the Greater Birmingham area.

A Journey of Courage and Hope – Forge and Deep South Cancer Foundation host the first retreat for metastatic breast cancer survivors and co-survivors in our region.

“[One of the goals of] Forge is to help eliminate barriers to care and gaps in services so that people have an opportunity to live the best quality life possible. When patients work with Forge, they become a part of our family. It’s amazing to see the survivors we’ve been working with since the program launched in 2016.”

Forge is selected as a top local nonprofit by the Birmingham Business Journal

Each year the Birmingham Business Journal awards those nonprofits that are making a big difference in the community in its Nonprofit Awards, which recognize both nonprofit organizations and companies that support the local charitable and philanthropic communities. In 2018, Forge was selected for this prestigious honor.

Jefferson County Commission President Pro Tempore Sandra Little Brown and representatives of several organizations including Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center increased breast cancer awareness during Partnerships in Birmingham: Collaborations that Advance Breast Cancer Awareness, Research and Treatment, a meeting for healthcare professionals.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center offers fun and educational activities focused on nutrition and survivorship for adult cancer survivors at Camp Bluebird.

Breast Cancer Survivors and their loved ones from Jefferson, Blount, Cullman, and Walker counties were provided a day of relaxation, rest, and reflection at the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center in Cullman, AL.

What’s so funny about breast cancer? Carla Youngblood can tell you. And after just a few minutes, we bet she’ll have you laughing. To help others combat fear when breast cancer strikes, Youngblood has become an advocate at the Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center in Birmingham. In this volunteer role, she offers information, support and guidance to women as they go through the process of diagnosis, medical appointments and treatment.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center offers monthly gardening classes to survivors and co- survivors – care givers, loved ones, healthcare professionals. The classes tie survivorship and health to gardening topics and activities, allowing each participant to learn together and take home a new creation.

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center participates in a National Cancer Survivors Day Event hosted by St. Vincent’s Health System.

WBRC FOX6 News shines the light on the work, mission, and programs of Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center

Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center connects with survivors and co-survivors of the Walker County Breast Cancer Support Group

Mother and daughter, both nurses, Madeline and Kristen share their journey in dealing with cancer and survivorship following Kristen’s breast cancer diagnosis at age 35.

Collaborative Care - November 22, 2016

Rebecca Di Piazza isn’t sure anything could have surprised her more than being diagnosed with breast cancer at 24. So she fought. And a decade later, she’s not only still here, but she’s also helping others who are walking the same road.

When Susan Sellers was diagnosed with breast cancer, she got nervous. And then she got quiet. “My kids were 10 and 13 at the time, and when you have kids, it’s different — you don’t talk about it because you don’t want them to be scared,” she said. But she needed to talk.

Forging On - October 1, 2016

Why Forge? This short question opens a door for people like Rebecca Di Piazza to talk about a new resource available for breast cancer patients, survivors and their families.

Restoring Normalcy - October 1, 2016

Survivor uses experience to help others fighting breast cancer.

Community leaders from Brookwood Baptist, UAB Medicine, UAB School of Nursing, Grandview, and St. Vincent’s Health System call the Forge breast cancer survivorship support center collaboration something remarkable in our community.

The Breast Cancer Survivorship Rehabilitation Initiative unveiled Forge as the official name of the community-based therapeutic program. The name, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center, was chosen to represent and embody the spirit of survivorship and the personal triumph over cancer.

“To Forge” means to steadily make progress and invokes a feeling of strength and safety. It means to be strong, powerful, brave and steadfast. The term embodies the journey of the breast cancer survivor – a steady and gradual forward movement in life, even in the face of obstacles.

Breast Cancer Survivorship Community Report Released On the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham released a comprehensive report on breast cancer survivorship services in the area.

The Women’s Breast Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham awards $287,000 grant for Breast Cancer Survivorship Rehabilitation Initiative.