In HearSway

It’s been a year since The Sway sat down for an interview with Stephanie Stosberg, co-founder of Beacon Bragg. And while so much has changed for the organization, her mission remains as she continues toward non-profit status: to provide a network of resources, support and help to connect military women with breast cancer.

Brandi Martin, Owner of Forte Fitness and Stephanie Strosberg, Co-Founder of Beacon Bragg,
with a remembrance memorial for Mary Alyce Baggett at DANCE*FIT for the Cure.

When asked how she felt about the organization’s biggest fundraiser to date, Stephanie immediately replied “bittersweet.” Though there is so much momentum happening with the organization this year, she’s experiencing it all differently than what she once envisioned. In August, at the age of 35, co-founder Mary Alyce Baggett passed away while navigating a second breast cancer diagnosis — this time, metastatic.

“She set the standard for motherhood, friendship and being a military spouse,” reads her obituary. Stephanie is honoring her memory by continuing to chase the dreams the two friends shared.

They Got Really Big Dreams, They’re Doing Really Big Things

One of those dreams is to raise funds to better support military affiliated women facing breast cancer. The mission began a year ago, when Mary Alyce and Stephanie were asked to speak to medical students and realized there was a void for young breast cancer patients and survivors in the military community. This year, Beacon Bragg was able to fill some of that void by providing more than 20 military affiliated breast cancer survivors with support by means of care packages, conversations, meet ups, and the inaugural respite in partnership with Healing Pines Respite.

“So many times you have you have big dreams versus an empty wallet,” Stephanie says. “But they’re finally matching up.”

Some of the care packages sent this year included a gratitude journal, gift cards for InstaCart and Apple, all-natural Paris Laundry product by a fellow survivor-founder and more. Future care packages will include more resources that survivors need and might be hesitant to purchase without the extra funds, like a bra from survivor-founded Ana Ono Intimates.

Military-affiliated breast cancer survivors at the first-ever respite by Beacon Bragg and Healing Pines Respite.

The day-respite was hosted at The Spa at Pinehurst and provided time and space for survivors to connect, pause and heal. “I didn’t realize how badly I needed this, until I experienced it,” said one of the women who attended.

Community Rocks Donations

Since dancing in their first fundraiser last year, this community has shown up for the cause. This year’s record-breaking fundraiser was once again Forte Fitness’ DANCE*FIT for the Cure 2022, leading to a $13,000 donation to Beacon Bragg — more than double last year’s contribution. The community braved power outages and showed up in a hurricane in their best 80s neon to celebrate, give back and sh-sh-shake it.

“Last year was amazing, and this year was a dream,” says Stephanie. “And now there is this trickle effect.” Other local efforts to support Beacon Bragg this year:

  • C.Cups raffled off a cake with all proceeds going to Beacon Bragg
  • J.McLaughlin did a Think Pink Shop Event earlier this month and donated 15% of proceeds
  • Premiere Real Estate has asked Sway sister Lorelei Colbert to share her breast cancer journey in an effort to raise donations on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Stephanie intends to use the funds to support more survivors and expand their reach through dedicated marketing efforts.

All Because of a Helping Hand

“I still don’t think people realize we’re not standing on our own yet,” says Stephanie. “None of this would be possible without Genevieve’s Helping Hands.” As The Sway covered last year, Genevieve’s Helping Hands offered a fiscal-partnership to Beacon Bragg that allowed them to officially accept donations. The two were actually connected by Healing Pines Respite. The LLC is now set and Stephanie is waiting on final word for the 501-C3 status.

“It felt wrong being at these events without Mary Alyce.” Stephanie said. “But we’re finally going in the direction we always wanted to.” Bittersweet, indeed.

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