BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Even with the support of her family and friends, Keisha Campbell says she felt isolated and alone after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I remember specifically a time where I just had the word cancer, cancer, cancer just going through my head, and I couldn't get it out," she says. "I just started driving because I didn't want to go over to a friend's house, family's house, and I didn't want to eat. It was just like a broken record."
Then, she remembered The Gathering Place.
"I came to the parking lot for about 20 minutes before I had the courage to get out of the car, and as soon as I walked in and felt the bricks, with the survivors' names... I literally just felt like it was a sanctuary. I felt at peace. I felt safe."
The Gathering Place has been serving Northeast Ohio for over two decades.
CEO Michele Seyranian says the work she and her staff do for families touched by cancer isn't just a mundane task - for her, it's personal.
"I met TGP when it first opened when my four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, which is very rare in children," Seyranian says. "They gave her a 20% chance of survival. I came to TGP for many reasons, and one of them was: Were there better places for her to be treated? Who are the experts in that disease?"
Seyranian says her goal now is to ensure that the same level of care that she received is available to everyone, but especially to underserved communities.
"That's the point I want to make. We want to be in a community," she says. "I'm so grateful for Sydney [Beeman] and all of the work she's doing in the community."
TGP is making all those impacted by cancer not only feel seen but covered as well. That's why Sydney Beeman says all of their services are absolutely free, regardless of if you have insurance or not!
"We want to make sure that folks realize that we are able to deliver these things free of charge, and so that doesn't matter to us," Beeman said. "We want to make sure people have what they need to get through something they didn't invite into their lives. They didn't ask for it. They didn't want it."
Carl Cooks works at The Friendly Inn through Project Save and knows first-hand how cancer disproportionately affects African Americans more than any other ethnic group.
He says his mission is to bridge the gap to better care and he's making sure that everyone knows help is available.
"It's very high in our community, we are in the inner city where there is a high percentage of poverty," Cooks says. "As Project Save, that's where we need to be. We want to uplift our citizens so they can have a conversation with Sydney, and about the Big C, and about anything!"
The Gathering Place offers a variety of services from nutrition and exercise to art and music therapy, and they even have a wig factory!
During the month of October, if you make a donation of $10 or more to The Gathering Place, you'll receive a Do it for Danielle pink ribbon. You can learn more and make a donation HERE.
“Do it for Danielle” is the name of the public awareness campaign that WKYC Studios launched last spring after 3News' anchor and reporter Danielle Wiggins returned to work after breast cancer surgery.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on May 6, 2022.