Josette Beddell Memorial Foundation | Nonprofit spotlight

Even in death, Josette Beddell is reaching out to help others. Beddell died of breast cancer in 2002. A fitness club started in 2009 by Josette’s daughter, Mary, kicked off the idea of starting an organization with a mission to help better the lives of Northeast Ohio families affected by cancer.

Even in death, Josette Beddell is reaching out to help others. Beddell died of breast cancer in 2002. A fitness club started in 2009 by Josette’s daughter, Mary, kicked off the idea of starting an organization with a mission to help better the lives of Northeast Ohio families affected by cancer.

The club quickly organized its first 5K run/walk that year with about 80 participants — and raised $1,000 unsolicited. And with that, the Josette Beddell Memorial Founation was born.

“At our first 5K in memory of my mom (with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen foundation), I remember telling my brother, David, on our second lap around the track an idea I had,” Mary said. “I told him how I wanted to start a foundation in memory of mom — but instead of the money going to research, it would go to women in our community. His excitement eased the fears I had about talking about this idea out loud.”

That successful first effort carried over, with the following two races each attracting about 225 participants — and netting $16,000 between the two years.

“I was worried no one would believe in me or truly think it was possible with the amount of work that was sure to be involved. I was very quickly shown that I had a support system around me that was also very excited about this idea,” Mary said. “It didn’t take me long to realize that my group of friends and family could accomplish anything.”

In February, the foundation held its first gala event, the Windchime Ball, at the Courtyard by Marriott in Canton. The event sold out weeks prior — and raised nearly $25,000.

To date, the proceeds have provided a college scholarship and numerous hardship grants to local women. The foundations hopes to endow the scholarship and to do larger scale gifts to families when they are going through cancer treatments.

“This organization has struck a chord in this community,” said board member John Kaminski, an attorney for Day Ketterer law firm. “The response to our mission has been overwhelming. I am very proud to be involved in something that will do a lot of great things for a group of people in their time of great need. When the Beddells approached me, it was originally to get legal advice on starting the charity. I gladly accepted, but told them that I wanted to do more than just be the lawyer. I was asked to sit on the board, and it has been a major part of my life for the last 18 months. Mary and I make a great team.”

Josette’s memory continues to drive the foundation.

“The driving force behind the foundation are my memories of my mother and her passion for family and her community,” Mary said. “If we are able to give someone even a moment to worry less about cancer and spend more time making memories with their families, then we have achieved our goal.”

JOSETTE BEDDELL MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

WHO: In memory of Josette Beddell

WHAT: Charity raising money for financial assistance for local women and families affected by breast cancer.

BOARD MEMBERS: David L. Beddell, David J. Beddell, Mary Beddell, Aaron Jones, Beth Jones, John Kaminski (all founding members).

PROCEEDS: Proceeds go toward college scholarships to graduating seniors who have a parent or guardian with breast cancer; hardship grants, direct financial assistance to local families; or the well-wishing committee, which provides hope and cheer to patients undergoing treatment.

DONATIONS: Donation checks are payable to Josette Beddell Memorial Foundation. Donations can be made online at www.josettememorial.org or mailed to 2778 Ivanhoe Ave. NW, Canton, Ohio 44709. Inquire at info@josettememorial.org.

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