Who We Are ~ Our Story
Friends 4 Life Foundation Inc. was conceived in 2015 out of a love for children and a great love for education. Kimberly Stevens, Founder, /Executive Director, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2010, only two months after her mother (Lana) died from cervical cancer. After surgery, chemotherapy and on the last day of her radiation treatments, her sister (Tammy) was diagnosed and succumbed to lung cancer just 8 months after. This was yet another devastating blow to the family.
Kimberly’s family, like so many other families who are battling this dreaded disease, experienced financial hardship, and crisis, due to Kimberly’s inability to work. Even while having exceptional medical insurance, the added expense of additional medical bills, co-pays, and deductibles quickly diminished their savings. With a son (Connor) who was a senior in high school at that time and inadequate finances, the family stressed and wondered how they were going to pay for college. With this experience, The F4L Legacy Scholarship was conceived. The additional stress and worry of future provision manifested as depression, anxiety, and other stress-related health conditions in the entire family. The family was beginning to come apart. They needed to find a way to pull their lives back together and be a support for each other.
While on a respite vacation, the family was able to sit and have “normal” interaction with other families. While her son (Jesse) interacted with other children at the camp and began to talk about his cancer experiences, Kimberly noticed he finally was able to open up. The evident change in her child’s disposition showed how important peer to peer interactions can be during the family’s fight to beat cancer. This became the basis of F4L Peer to Peer Programming.
While volunteering at her son’s school, Kim noticed that many of the children were very confused and unaware of sound financial practices. Kimberly’s love and concern for the children (who affectionately call her mom) prompted her to begin one on one F4L Financial Literacy Sessions to help ensure the survival of these children in the event that a caregiver is suddenly no longer present.
Unfortunately, this is a reality for so many families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Today, Kimberly is cancer free and excited to see her vision begin to manifest in reality. She began to see the reality take shape in February of 2017 when Friends 4 Life became a 501(c)3 tax exempt, publicly supported organization. Kimberly and everyone at F4L believes no child should have to feel alone or give up on their dreams due to a cancer diagnosis so, “Let us be Friends 4 Life.”