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The one hundred honoree: Stephanie McKeith

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Stephanie McKeith

Mass General Giving

Stephanie McKeith’s dad’s diagnosis of stage III lung cancer set her off on a quest to learn as much as she could to support his health and quality of life. She contacted researchers, nutritionists, wellness coaches, holistic practitioners, doctors and academics and educated herself about integrative, complementary and alternative therapies.

Her dad incorporated what she learned about nutrition, exercise and natural supplements into his regimen of chemotherapy and radiation and maintained a high quality of life during his illness. After his death, Stephanie realized she had amassed a database of resources that would be invaluable to cancer patients and their families. As a result, she founded Handy Hearts—Family Cancer Organization.

The Michigan-based nonprofit not only provides links on its website to information about treating the body as a whole, but also supplies cancer patients with Wellness Packages that include: cancer-related health and wellness books and DVDs, all-natural personal care items, an assortment of healthy foods, non-toxic home cleaning products, organic herbal teas, inspirational mugs, dry brushes, stress balls and small exercise equipment. Handy Hearts also connects cancer patients with naturopathic practitioners and cancer coaches and offers an online cancer prevention program.

Handy Hearts is also preparing to launch a “Cancer Prevention Convention” program at colleges and universities. Students, staff and the general public will be informed of daily exposures we face that can fuel cancer growth, then armed with choices that can be implemented to protect against cancer development.

“Stephanie founded Handy Hearts to share all that she had learned with the wish of providing hope to others faced with this diagnosis,” writes nominator Lanie Offman. “She believes the journey is just as important as the destination.”