Who We Are

The Gems of Hope program offers support to local cancer patients receiving treatment. Nearly 700 Gifts of Hope (hand-crafted inspirational cards with a choice of serenity circles or stones, earrings or bookmarks) are offered to patients treated in the corridor each month. Gems of Hope offers community workshops where cancer patients, friends and families come together to create these Gifts of Hope. Local youth camps and school library programming are also made available for families affected by cancer.

Our Story

Gems of Hope was inspired by Tory, a 9-year-old living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While her mother was in treatment for cancer, Tory wrote daily notes of encouragement, leaving them where her mother would see them. Tory’s mother recognized that the love behind the notes and the opportunity to create art, as well as the information she found in her reading, were valuable components in her recovery. She joined two friends also affected by cancer in founding a non-profit organization that would extend these components to others. Gems of Hope promotes what medical research now supports: feelings of optimism and hope encourage healing.

Our Founders

Sheila Harmon and Beth Hammell were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Sheila, inspired to help other patients as they went through their cancer treatment, called Beth and another friend, Cindy Sale who had been a caregiver to her brother with cancer. Together, the three women launched Gems of Hope, Inc. with the help of the Cedar Rapids community in July 2005 to support men and women during their cancer treatments.

Sheila lost her battle with breast cancer in April of 2008, nearly three years after she started Gems of Hope. As co-founders of the organization with her, Beth and Cindy carried on the Gems of Hope mission

Our Mission

To bring hope to cancer patients and their families.

Our Vision

To provide cancer patients and their families support and resources to inspire hope, creating the outlook that hope is always present in a cancer diagnosis.