My Hope Chest helps survivors feel whole after breast cancer

Breast cancer was the diagnosis that turned Alisa Savoretti's world upside down.

"I found a lump in my breast. I was told I had cancer, that I needed surgery to remove the cancer," said Savoretti, a Pinellas County survivor.

However, it was the reality that followed that was the most devastating. Cancer had taken one of her breasts. With no insurance, the $25,000 reconstruction surgery was not an option.

"It was horrible, I was disfigured, I was deformed, I was depressed," said Savoretti. "I was trying to put my life back together."

It would be three years before Savoretti would be able to have her surgery. Her breast cancer journey was over, but her fight wasn't. 

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"It was a pretty horrible experience. No woman should have to live without her breasts in the most heavily funded cause in our country," Savoretti said.

Out of her frustration with the lack of resources for uninsured survivors, who hop to have a piece of themselves returned, Savoretti founded My Hope Chest. It's an organization dedicated to funding survivors' reconstruction surgery and helping them feel complete. 

Since 2003, My Hope Chest has helped seven to 10 women receive reconstruction surgery every year. Each surgery costs the organization roughly $13,500 per procedure.

Georgette Kramer, another local survivor, knows how much that gift of surgery can mean.

"It was horrific not having breasts in the first place but when you saw the scars... the first time I looked, it devastated me for days," said Kramer.

After her double mastectomy, My Hope Chest helped her pick up the pieces.

"When you finally find something it's like, 'Oh my gosh I'm going to be whole again,'" said Kramer. "And it's wonderful."

It's a feeling survivors across the nation are also hoping to have. 

"We have a waitlist locally and nationally," said Savoretti." It's over 73 women, and it would cost over a million dollars to help these women."

It's a gift of hope, and a chance to leave breast cancer forever in the past.

"If you can know you're going to make yourself whole again, that's a lot," said Kramer.

My Hope Chest is dependent on the community's support and is one of the only organizations like it in the country.

On October 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., My Hope Chest will be partnering with Aston Martin for a night of food, fun and silent auctions. The proceeds will go towards helping survivors fulfill their reconstruction dreams.

For more information on the event and the organization, visit