MINNEAPOLIS -- Margery Sborov has been honored with a 2011 Eleven Who Care award for her work to create the Angel Foundation, a cancer charity providing financial and emotional support to families facing the disease.
The power in a promise
"I'm amazed and humbled to think that 10 years ago this started out as a dream," Sborov said.
The dream was to offer help when cancer strikes, but the foundation also fulfills a promise Margie made when she was a teenager.
"My boyfriend died of leukemia," Margie explained.
Jim Deming was Margie's boyfriend and he was also best friends with Mark, the man Margie would one day marry.
"At his graveside, Mark and I made a promise to Jim. Mark's promise was that he would become the best cancer doctor that he could be and try to find a cure for this disease," Margie said. "Mine was that I would help people talk about cancer."
Both Sborovs kept their word. Mark became a doctor at Minnesota Oncology Hematology P.A. and Margie started volunteering as a patient advocate.
"What [Margie] found out was they had many financial needs that couldn't be resolved," founding board member Barb Croxen said. "She kept talking to me about this wonderful thing she wanted to do."
The promise as a foundation
In 2001, using seed money from doctors in Mark's oncology practice, Margie started what has become known as the Angel Foundation.
"She did it with passion and focus and commitment to serving others," Barb said.
The charity offers emergency non-medical financial assistance and free education and support for adult cancer patients and their families.
The Angel Foundation's financial assistance program provides funds for basic needs like food, gas, utilities and rent. Angel Foundation's Facing Cancer Together (FaCT) is a free education and support program for families affected by cancer.
"The biggest thing that we are able to do is help them find their inner strength," Margie said. "Give them the tools so they can work together as a family."
The promise to continue
In early June, the staff of the foundation moved into a bigger facility, allowing all the programs to be under one roof.
"It started at my kitchen table and now we have the space for nine staff members," Margie said.
The numbers are already impressive: $2 million dollars distributed, 500 families supported and 13,000 individuals helped in just 10 years. Margie and the foundation staff are committed to doing even more in their new space.
"I have it in my heart and in my soul," she said.
It is the powerful result of Margie making good on a promise to a boy she loved.
"I think Jim would say, 'I'm very proud of you.'"
For more information visit the Angel Foundation website.
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