Who we are & why we care

Our Story And Mission

All while reminding you that your journey is a story worth telling, and a journey worth supporting.

Together, we’ll navigate this journey, honor the challenges you face, and celebrate the milestones you achieve.

Every step of our journey at TBBC is driven by the understanding that the path you are walking is uniquely yours. We’re here to not only walk beside you, but to truly understand and support your individual journey through every twist and turn.

Transforming journeys through resilience and compassion

Bess Hagans and Elisa DiMeo

By sharing real stories & expert advice, our podcast ‘Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer,’ uplifts individuals through a sense of belonging and inspires them to thrive despite the challenges.

Uplift

Beyond just physical care, our free mental health support groups connect patients with pros & peers, educating them on coping strategies and boosting their resilience during their healing journey.

Educate

Access to free medical expense stipends empowers breast cancer patients to focus on their recovery and well-being, fostering a sense of control & hope in the face of adversity.

Empower

Our Holistic Support Ecosystem

Through FREE stipends, survivorship therapy, and ongoing podcasts we provide support, encouragement, and education to the Breast Cancer Community. Our purpose is bringing community together while empowering individuals to thrive beyond their diagnosis.

Our vision is to serve Low to Middle Income (LMI) individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Guiding Voices

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President

Dr. Lauren Miller

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Managing Director

Elisa DiMeo

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Executive Director

Bess Hagans

Introducing Bess Hagans, Executive Director

Bess Hagans, Executive Director of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer, is an extraordinary leader whose journey is a testament to resilience, determination, and a profound desire to create positive change. She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and attended Kent State University where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Fashion Design and Merchandising.  Shortly after, her unique passion for the fashion world led her to NYC where she honed her craft at esteemed establishments like The Sarut Group, Tommy Hilfiger, and 32 Degrees, gaining invaluable experience in brand management and entrepreneurship. Bess and her husband Frank moved back to Columbus in 2020 and shortly after she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. During her arduous treatment journey, she met Elisa DiMeo (Managing Director) which resulted in an intimate sisterhood with a profound desire to make a change in the young breast cancer community. Bess is truly the heart and soul behind this organization, “I want my daughter to know who I am. I want her to know my heart and to witness my kindness towards others and to follow in my footsteps. We are here to leave the world in a better place and to be mindful and responsible to the earth and to our own bodies.” 

Introducing Elisa DiMeo, Managing Director

Elisa DiMeo, Managing Director of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer, is a beam of sunshine to those who she serves. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio she earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Walsh University. Shortly after she moved to Columbus, Ohio for a professional endeavor. Elisa’s mom was always adamant about teaching her about women’s health. That, coupled with her own nursing education and a family history of breast cancer, imparted the importance of self-breast examinations. Elisa was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2020 at the ripe age of 25. During extensive treatment, she met Bess Hagans (Executive Director) and the two have been inseparable since, “Bess and I are dedicated to serving a niche of young women who need financial, emotional, and spiritual support.  There is a 50% increase in women under 40 who are being diagnosed with Breast Cancer within the last five years.” Elisa’s advocacy for the young breast cancer community coupled with her steadfast faith and contagious spirit are the perfect blend to make a profound impact on the world. 

Introducing Dr. Lauren Miller, Board President

Dr. Lauren Miller, Board President of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer, is a driven Doctor of Medicine who is passionate about taking care of women. She was born and raised in Minster, Ohio and moved to Columbus in 1998 to attend Ohio State University. She then completed her internship at Riverside Methodist Hospital, followed by her residency in diagnostic radiology and fellowship in breast imaging at Duke University Medical Center. This equipped Dr. Miller to launch her successful career as radiologist subspecializing in breast imaging at Riverside Radiology & Interventional Associates and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Elisa DiMeo, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer and Bess Hagans, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer, were both patients of Dr. Miller. “Our relationship blossomed beyond the doctor-patient relationship, and we have become great friends. Elisa and Bess hold a dear place in my heart, and I deeply care for and respect each of them. In 2023, when I was asked to serve as Board President, I was honored and gladly accepted.” As the nonprofit (TBBC) is launching, Dr. Miller will contribute by offering her medical knowledge, support, encouragement, ideas, structure, and a firm foundation. “I understand the tangible aspects required to create an effective Board. I am excited as we plant firm roots for TBBC to prosper and serve others for decades.” 

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Secretary

Dilara Casey

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Treasurer

Dan Yersavich

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Vice President

Dr. Santosh Kale

Introducing Dr. Santosh Kale, Vice President

Dr. Santosh Kale is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive microsurgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction (implant and tissue-based), aesthetic breast surgery, body contouring, lymphedema, general reconstruction, and gender confirmation surgeries. During his career, Dr. Kale has presented his findings in front of numerous conferences and seminars. He has also written multiple book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, Dr. Kale has been in several television features discussing the life-changing effects of reconstructive microsurgery in breast reconstruction and surgical education. Dr. Kale is known for his unwavering commitment to personalized patient care. His clinical experiences as an educator and understanding of human form and function enable him to work closely with patients to achieve natural and life-changing results. 

Introducing Dan Yersavich, Treasurer

Dan Yersavich, Board Treasurer, blends the analytical mind of a ‘numbers guy’ with his sincere, collaborative, and empathetic nature. He was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Kent State University. Dan’s financial acumen is critical to the nonprofit’s financial compliance, budgeting, and reporting. “We need to have focus on the financials, so we as the Board, make wise decisions.” Operational goals, supported by financial metrics are critical when it comes to the financial sustainability of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer. “Supporting a community of women under 40 who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer is an important mission and I am proud to be part of an organization which supports women both financially and emotionally.” 

Introducing Dilara Casey, Board Secretary

Dilara Casey, Board Secretary, was born and raised in Warren, Ohio, and moved to Columbus in 2000. Dilara earned her Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications and Spanish from Youngstown State University. Dilara is a young breast cancer survivor (diagnosed July 2020) and during her journey met Elisa through treatment. Her non-profit experience coupled with her business savvy and commitment to servant leadership are invaluable strengths. “I am always striving to look out for the best interests of others, and I trust that my journey and empathy towards others will contribute to the mission of Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer.”  

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Chief Creative Officer

Kate Hardy

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Chief media officer

Yolanda Harris

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Chief Operations Officer

Patti Carey

Introducing Patti Carey, Chief Operations Officer

Patti is a dedicated and driven individual with a diverse career profile and a strong commitment to making a positive impact on her industry and community. With experience in tax, accounting, direct sales, and customer service, she has proven her ability to build connections and contribute meaningfully to important causes. Patti, an avid traveler, embraces new adventures and is currently focused on developing her portfolio as a lifestyle and commercial model while maintaining her passion for being a patient advocate for cancer. Beyond her professional pursuits, Patti has been a leader and advocate for organizations such as The Young Survival Coalition, Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer, and the Worthington Educational Foundation, bringing valuable skills to her philanthropic efforts.

Introducing Yolanda Harris, Chief Media Officer

Yolanda Harris co-anchors the 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WBNS-10TV. Before joining the team at 10TV, Harris was the early and late evening anchor at WSYX-6 and WTTE-Fox 28. Harris began her career as a host of the Fox 28 Kids Club and reporter for the community news program “This Week.” She then hosted and reported for the show “Take 1,” which featured stories for and about young people in Central Ohio. Harris received an Emmy for her work on “Pepsi’s Gimme the Mike Columbus,” a local talent show inspired by American Idol. Harris is a Columbus native and has been featured in “Who’s Who in Black Columbus,” “Columbus Monthly” magazine, and more. She loves to volunteer and support local organizations that work to improve the lives of Central Ohioans, especially young people. She works with local fundraising events for Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO), Ohio Cancer Research, the NNEMAP Food Pantry, and others. Yolanda has also served as an honorary board member for Buckeye Ranch and is currently on the board of the nonprofit Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer.

Introducing Kate Hardy, Chief Creative Officer

Kate Hardy is an award-winning artist, graphic designer, and instructor. Her work can be seen for brands such as Amazon, Progressive Insurance, and American Greetings, but her true passion lies in working with women-led small businesses around her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. She regularly speaks at local universities on brand design and has taught illustration and color theory at her alma mater, Kent State University. She believes a compelling brand is the key to any business's success and through Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer, design can truly save lives.

Our Advisors

David Sauer

Mindy Miller

Samantha Dettinger

Heather Vincent

“From my own battle emerged a purpose fueled by resilience, to ensure that no one walks this path alone. Through the darkest moments, I found strength through this community, and now, my mission is to illuminate the way for others, lighting their journey with hope and support.”

It provides essential support for young women battling breast cancer, offering financial relief for medical expenses and fostering emotional well-being. Together, we're rewriting the story of strength and resilience, turning contributions into tangible change for those who need it most.

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