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To provide emotional, spiritual, and educational support by listening to, understanding, and supporting families touched by childhood cancer.
Who Are We?
Founded and established by families who have faced childhood cancer themselves, Brighter Tomorrows exists to bring families together who have encountered a childhood cancer diagnosis. We understand because we have faced the same fears, asked the same questions, and grasped for the same hope necessary to survive each day of this long, and most often, difficult journey. We know the value in simply connecting with someone who understands. To learn more about how we bring families together, or to meet someone one-on-one dealing with similar experiences, please see our services and contact us.
Brighter Tomorrows was founded as a non-profit 501c3 corporation in 2007 by four mothers of children with cancer, determined that no family should ever have to travel this difficult road alone. Through their experiences it became apparent that there was power in providing support through the networking of families who were facing many of the same issues. Brighter Tomorrows is privileged to be able to provide this valuable connection for the families we serve. In 2012 our board of directors was expanded in order to better serve our ever growing number of families and in 2016 we hired our Executive Director.
Even though it is our hope that all of our children go on to live normal lives, sadly some do not. In 2013, in an effort to serve the needs of families grieving the loss of their child to childhood cancer, Brighter Tomorrows respectively launched its newest program entitled Tomorrow’s Chapter ~ Bereavement Support for the Days to Come. These families are offered grief services which are designed to help them start picking up the pieces of their shattered life, as they start down the long and difficult road to healing.
In the future, Brighter Tomorrows plans to offer even more programs which will benefit those whom we assist.
Brighter Tomorrows employs one part time staff person but operates primarily with a volunteer “working” board of directors and sub-committees which report directly to the board on a monthly basis. Our subcommittees consist of dedicated volunteers, all with special talents in one or more of the following areas:
- Family to Family Relations
- Marketing/Public Relations
- Activities & Events
- Risk Management
- B.L.A.S.T. Program
- Tomorrow’s Chapter Program
Photo compliments Brendan Bush Photography
Caitlin Barnes serves as Brighter Tomorrows’ Executive Director. She comes to the organization from Church Hill Activities and Tutoring, (CHAT), based out of Richmond, Virginia, where she was Director of Communications and Development. “Brighter Tomorrows offers important and beneficial programs for families. I am confident that my experience in strategy, fundraising, and working with volunteers will build on this foundation to create an even stronger organization,” says Barnes.
Caitlin replaces Emily Brownfield, who served as its first executive director for a year and a half before moving from Rochester due to family obligations. Caitlin is a graduate of the University of Richmond, cum laude, and joined Brighter Tomorrows in July 0f 2017.
Executive Board Positions
Liz Canan ~ President
Brighter Tomorrows Founder
Mayo Clinic Operations, Division of Hospital Internal Medicine
Office of Health Equity and Inclusion Administrator
Sherrie Decker ~ Past President
Brighter Tomorrows Founder
IT and Finance Specialist
Small Business Owner
Mary Hansen ~ Secretary
Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union, CEO
Certified Internal Auditor
Minnesota Health and Insurance Licensure
Brandon Passon ~ Treasurer
RSM US LLP
Certified Public Accountant
Dr. Tanya Brown Ph.D., L.P
Isaac Horn – Associate Director
Director, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs
News and News Delivery
Former Manager, Mayo Clinic Center
for Social Media
| Heather vanKoeverden
Mother of a Survivor