Thank you, Melissa Clark, Founder of The She Shift for introducing me to Connie Bramer who I decided to showcase for her passion and caring for women and men in need. Here is Connie’s story:
Who are you?
I am a woman on a mission to help others, busy putting my mission into action. I am a mom, cancer thriver, author, entrepreneur and mentor. My core belief is to always leave people better for having known you.
What do you do?
I am the founder and CEO of Get Your Rack Back Inc. a not for profit organization that provides financial assistance to cancer patients in Upstate NY. GYRB provides meal delivery, gas and grocery gift cards as well as medical copay assistance to men, women and children with varying types of cancer. The mission of GYRB is to assist cancer patients in need with solutions for problems they face “today.” No patient should ever have to choose between paying for groceries to feed their family and paying for cancer treatment. Get Your Rack Back Inc. bridges the gap for these patients.
In 2012 my breast cancer memoir, “How Connie Got Her Rack Back,” was published. I have always believed that laughter is the best medicine and in my book, I share my comical stories of having cancer as well as the real, raw moments that take your breath away. My book launch party in 2012 is what inspired me to fundraise and eventually start “Get Your Rack Back” in 2015.
I am a passionate fundraiser and event planner. My foundation holds four large events per year including a golf tournament, gala, band event and my favorite, Diamonds in December, which is the launch of our Christmas Stocking Drive to provide holiday stockings to children affected by cancer and children in need. To date, GYRB has provided $100,000 in assistance to cancer patients in Upstate NY and over 1500 holiday stockings to children.
I was featured and on the cover of HerLife NY Magazine in October 2013. My story has been featured in many Upstate NY magazines, newspapers and media outlets. I was awarded the 2018 Hyatt’s “Portrait of Understanding Award” where I was featured by the Hyatt in Chicago in their media campaign and photographed by world-renowned photographer, Sandro Miller. I am involved with several networking groups including “Women at Work,” “Passion and Purpose,” and the “Savvy Professional Woman.” I am also on the board of the Pink Ribbon Garden Project driven by Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation and co-founder Melissa Etheridge to bring fresh produce to breast cancer survivors and their families in Upstate NY.
Top Vision – Where would you be?
My top vision is to expand Get Your Rack Back to reach cancer patients in all of New York State and beyond into other states. The need for assistance for cancer patients is limitless. Everywhere you look, someone somewhere is affected by cancer. My dream is for GYRB to become a force in creating change in this country. For people who are neighbors, friends and family to come together for those who need assistance in their communities. GYRB will never get away from the personal touch that is a “grassroots” organization. I want to inspire people to be better and to do better for others. I would like to look back on my life and know that I have effected change; a shift in how we treat each other and care for one another. We all have it in us to make a “dent in the world.”
How do you collaborate with others to realize your vision?
Having passionate people in your corner when running a not for profit is KEY. Just like with anything in life, we all have to be pulling on the same end of the rope, with the same mission in mind. My foundation has an incredible Board of Directors and a group of volunteers, each with a skill set and drive to accomplish the goals we set forth each year. We brainstorm, we collaborate and we come up with a plan. As long as you have a plan, take steps daily to work your plan, the plan inevitably comes to fruition.
- What are ten milestones that you’d like to achieve?1. Obtain corporate and personal charitable funding for “Get Your Rack Back” to expand and reach more cancer patients and their families.
2. Move from a volunteer organization to paid staff for GYRB to make a greater impact.
3. Continue speaking engagements to spread the mission of GYRB and to inspire cancer patients to keep going.
4. Provide an ongoing educational series for cancer patients and their caregivers.
5. Finish and publish the follow-up book to my cancer journey, “Save the Crazy for After the Appetizers,” my crazy dating stories after cancer.
6. Collaborate with media sources to share my story and mission.
7. Host more GYRB fundraisers and events in other states to bring communities together to help their neighbors who are struggling with cancer.
8. Obtain national grants for more funding.
9. Create a brand synonymous with helping others.
10. Inspire people to make a dent in the world.
Who inspires you?
This is the easiest answer to give. Hands down, my family. My mother, Jackie Bramer, passed away from breast cancer in 1996 at the young age of 53. She was a beacon of light to all who knew and loved her. She taught me that life is precious and we should always leave people better for having known us. I know she did. My children, Alyssa and Alex are at the very core of what drives me to be better. They were 7 and 8 years old when I had cancer and they know how important GYRB’s mission is to help others. They have always been in the trenches with me and for that, I know they are more compassionate people.
Want to connect with Connie?
Get Your Rack Back Inc.
getyourrackback @ yahoo.com