(WFXR)– The non-profit Anchored In Faith Together (AIFT) is a labor of love created by Lisa Allagas and her daughter Leeann.
Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, sparking her passion for helping other women affected by the disease. Since 2015, she’s joined breast cancer walks, fundraisers, and outreach events. At the end of 2017, Lisa was able to follow her passion, and AIFT was officially created.
“That comes from my experience. I had chemotherapy. I had a double mastectomy, then radiation, and then the reconstruction, and it was a couple of reconstructions. There was a lot of ups and downs. It was a long journey, but it’s my faith. I feel like that helped me through,” said Lisa Allagas.
Something else that Lisa says helped her was a homemade butterfly pillow. She says it gave her comfort after surgery, leading her to provide them for other breast cancer patients. That’s actually how AIFT started. It was recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit in March 2019.
“When you’re going through surgery it helps your arms from being fatigued. You sleep with them. They give you comfort. That’s where it began. We started giving out these pillows, or making them and giving them out,” said Lisa.
From there, they expanded. They now give out totes, hope baskets, charms, bracelets, earrings, and clips to Blue Ridge Cancer Centers. Those centers are located in Pulaski, Blacksburg, Salem, Roanoke, and Bedford. They also offer inspirational calendars, for a $25 donation. Each month has a different model. All of the models are local to the area and are breast cancer survivors.
Through AIFT the mother-daughter duo also provides support, resources, and therapeutic services.
“So, anyone impacted by breast cancer can get free counseling services. So, it doesn’t matter if it’s a loved one that has been diagnosed, like a wife, a spouse, or if it’s just someone that’s just a best friend. Right. So, we go through a grieving process. The person is changing. Everyone needs a little extra help getting through this,” said Leeann,