what we do
The Fuchsia Foundation offers greeting cards and other products and guidance to help people with cancer and their loved ones to navigate through some of the complexities of having cancer. We also provide grants to other non-profit organizations that assist people with cancer. Please read the sections below to learn more about what we do and how you can become involved in our efforts.
who are we?
We are a donor-advised foundation and affiliate of the Baltimore Community Foundation,a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations to the Fuchsia Foundation are tax-deductible by the donor. Foundations making donations or grants to us should make checks payable to The Baltimore Community Foundation for credit to the Fuchsia Foundation. Right now we are a hands-on operation of family and friends. We hope to grow to be a hands-on operation of many more members of our extended family and friends such as you.
how did we get started?
When one of my closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, I tried to reassure her by telling her that all women are one mammogram away from her diagnosis and that each of us lives with the possibility of an undetected cancer appearing at any time. Well, four months later, I, too, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 49 years old, a wife and mother of two daughters, a partner in a law firm, a law school professor, and, by birth and reputation, a redhead. In a short time, I was also a bald chemotherapy patient.
The journey that began with a suspicious mammogram took me through many dark places. Chemotherapy treatment and recovery from multiple surgical procedures were debilitating for me and traumatic for my loved ones. Looking at the total picture, however, there were some moments of great comfort and even exhilaration. I learned a lot about myself and my friends and family members, and they learned much about me and perhaps about themselves that they did not know before.
My course of treatment and my responses to that treatment were not the same as that of others,even those who may have had the same diagnosis. Everyone has a different response to treatment, and I would never claim to speak for everyone that has ever had cancer. On the other hand, people with different cancer diagnoses have much in common.
I did not want to be a “cancer victim” and I suspect that many others feel the same way. I did not want people to run from me because of their own fear of cancer. Over the months of my treatment and recovery, I began to see the common misconceptions of cancer as a launching point for activities that would help me and other survivors feel more in control of the recovery process. The goal of the Fuchsia Foundation is to empower cancer survivors and to challenge the broader world of people who may or may not have cancer in the future (i.e., everyone) to consider survivors differently than they had previously.
The diagnosis of all types of cancer is so prevalent because of increasingly accurate diagnostic techniques, as much as any other reason. This is a good thing notwithstanding the frightening reality of more people experiencing the terror of a diagnosis. Due to advances in medical research, the treatment for cancer is improving so that many more people are able to live much longer than they would have in prior generations, and many live out their lives without a recurrence of cancer. This is a wonderful thing.
Living with cancer was not what I expected (though, truthfully, I did not really know what to expect). Along the way, my family, friends and I tried to make my treatment as pleasant as possible and we wondered what we could do to make it easier for others. The Fuchsia Foundation is an outgrowth of some of our experiences.
who is the “I” referenced in this website?
I am Leslie Ries. Here is a picture of me now, with new hair and a smile on my face. Most importantly, this picture shows me with my wonderful and supportive husband, Tom, and our beautiful and wise-beyond-their years daughters, Carly and Emily, and Emily’s delightful boyfriend Ben. My family also includes my parents, Tom’s parents, our sisters and brothers, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, great grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, co-workers, clients, and our special friends who provided medical care and guidance. The Fuchsia Foundation is dedicated to my family and yours.