Skip to main content

Unite for HER, united for them

04/16/2014 04:26PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print



By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer


West Chester resident Sue Weldon was a gymnastics coach for several years at a local school. On May 4, 2004, at the age of 39, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She began chemotherapy on May 22 and had her last session on October 22nd of that year.

Weldon was, in her words, broken.  Sure, she got to ring a bell after her last treatment, but she was not done yet – everything was not pieced back together yet – and the chemo had transformed her body from that of a grown woman to that of a 12-year-old girl. She didn't want to just throw medication at the problem, so she tried alternative approaches to help restore her health. Weldon did 36 sessions of acupuncture, as well as had massage therapy. She took meditation classes, yoga classes, and learned about proper nutrition. In her year of healing, she dove head first into complimentary therapy.   

Eventually, Weldon recovered from breast cancer and slowly, the life she'd known with her three children and husband came back, as did her body. She eventually returned to coaching, and began connecting with her young players. None of them could believe their coach was diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age. They wanted to do everything they could to learn, to help, and one day, Weldon and a few of her players participated in a wellness event in Washington, D.C.

“I met a woman who was bald from chemotherapy, and she asked me how I got well,” Weldon said. “I mentioned all of the things that were restoring me. She began to break down. She told me that she could never afford all of that.”

Weldon then went home, spoke with her husband about the woman she had met in Washington, D.C., and over the next few years, the Unite for HER organization was born. 

Working hand-in-hand with one dozen area hospitals from Philadelphia to Chester County, Unite for HER, incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2009, annually helps over one thousand women living with breast cancer in the Delaware Valley. At Wellness Days held throughout the year, Unite for Her creates a personal plan for each woman that forms the toolbox they need to help them in their recovery – seen most prominently in the form of a voucher program that entitles them to complimentary sessions and classes in the areas of acupuncture, massage, yoga, Reiki, beauty consultation, counseling and nutrition. Each woman is assigned to a Unite for HER Ambassador – a woman who has already been through the program.

All sessions are paid in full directly to the provider by Unite For HER, alleviating patients from having to pay out-of-pocket expenses. And it's not just a case of dropping off vouchers and leaving; Unite for HER volunteers work with patients for a full year.

“We give them a personal plan for their healing,” Weldon said. “We're a hands-on, high touch organization, and we follow them through e-mail, through our ambassadors who have already gone through the program. They usually end up sending us testimonials on how the program changed their life, and that they are able to do things with out prescription drugs and find control in a disease they had no control over, and eventually, they are allowed to get back to a new normal.” 

The tendrils of the organization are not just felt in yoga rooms and acupuncture sessions, but in school hallways.  Unite for HER is currently associated with 18 schools, including Avon Grove, Kennett and Unionville high schools, many of whom have formed their own Unite for HER clubs and sponsor awareness events during the school year.

Throughout the year, Unite for HER sponsors several fund-raising events, which annually raise close to a half million dollars in total revenue – money that is funneled directly into the voucher program. Unite for HER's largest fund-raiser is the Pink Invitational, a three-day gymnastics competition held annually at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The most recent invitational, held this past February, drew 1,000 gymnasts and more than 10,000 in attendance, and raised $350,000 for the organization. Sponsorships, grants and donations also account for a portion of Unite for HER's revenues.

On May 4, Unite for HER will be sponsoring its annual fashion show and luncheon at the Radnor Hunt in Malvern. Now in its second year after a  successful event last year in Unionville, the fashion show will showcase top styles from Frey Boutique, which will be modeled by some of the women who are currently in  the Unite for HER program. In addition, the event will include tastings from the Terrain Garden Cafe in Glen Mills, as well as raffles and a cash bar.

“It's a fund-raising event, but also an opportunity for us to bring patients together from various hospitals and allow them to enjoy the fellowship of sharing their stories, re-connecting and reuniting,” said Julie Hillhouse, Unite for HER communications director. “We invite everyone to come out and support our models. Whether they have a full head of hair or whether they're dressed in a scarf, it's an opportunity for them to feel beautiful.”  

The best moments of Unite for HER, Weldon said, are seen during the many Wellness Days the organization sponsors throughout the year. 

“We see women arrive feeling blind-sided and out of control, and two hours into the day, we begin to see them rejuvenated and feel like they have the control, power, and the tools to beat cancer,” she said. “We see their faces change, and we see them walk away with $2,000 worth of vouchers. We see one woman at a time, changing her life.

Perhaps the greatest irony Weldon feels is one that circles back to her own journey of recovery. “If I hadn't have started chemotherapy I wouldn't have started Unite for HER,” she said. “I was really broken. That's when I had to find out how to thrive and survive. I didn't want just five years. I wanted to see my children get married and become a grandmother. Without chemotherapy, I wouldn't have been able to work with such a great group of people. We wouldn't have been able to help so many others.”

To learn more about Unite for HER, visit www.uniteforher.org, e-mail: uniteforher@yahoo.com, or call 610-322-9522. 

Bloom 

Unite for HER Fashion Show and Luncheon

May 4, 2014

1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Radnor Hunt

826 Providence Road

Malvern, Pa. 19355

Tickets: www.inticketing.com/events/409899


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



unite for her breast cancer


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Le Petit Yogi (ages 2-6)

    05/25/2016
    11:30AM — 12:30PM

    Stretch into a five-point star, roll down into a pumpkin pose, take your “dogs” for a walk, and r...


  • Leaf Imprinted Ceramic Vessel

    05/25/2016
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Create a nature-inspired vessel (vase or bowl) using foliage from our native trees as the design ...


  • Yoga

    05/25/2016
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Yoga

    05/25/2016
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/25/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/25/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    05/26/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Native Shrubs for Home Gardens

    05/26/2016
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Birds, insects, and a host of other fauna rely on the natural resources supplied by our native sh...


  • False Indigo - True Beauty

    05/26/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    False indigo (Baptisia spp.) is a great plant for the sunny border and has a broad range of flowe...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/26/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Flags for Heroes

    05/26/2016
    06:00PM

    Please support our local fundraiser Flags for Heroes which honors heroes in our community and fam...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Fitness Walks

    05/27/2016
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Enjoy the natural beauty of Mt. Cuba Center's gardens, forests, and meadows this spring and exper...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Children’s I-Spy Birding

    05/28/2016
    09:00AM — 10:30AM

    The last Saturday of the month from 9am-10:30am. Join local birding expert and environmental edu...


  • Herp Search

    05/28/2016
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    With Gary Stolz, Naturalist Saturday, May 28th from 2:00PM-4:00PM Location: Bucktoe Creek Prese...


  • Brad and Dad Duo At Kreutz Creek

    05/28/2016
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Come join us for a night of wine and Music May 28th at the Kreutz Creek Wine Tasting Room in West...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/30/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Le Petit Yogi (ages 2-6)

    05/25/2016
    11:30AM — 12:30PM

    Stretch into a five-point star, roll down into a pumpkin pose, take your “dogs” for a walk, and r...


  • Leaf Imprinted Ceramic Vessel

    05/25/2016
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Create a nature-inspired vessel (vase or bowl) using foliage from our native trees as the design ...


  • Yoga

    05/25/2016
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Yoga

    05/25/2016
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Increase your range of motion, core body strength, and flexibility through the practice of yoga i...


  • Pajama Storytime

    05/25/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    05/25/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    05/26/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Native Shrubs for Home Gardens

    05/26/2016
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Birds, insects, and a host of other fauna rely on the natural resources supplied by our native sh...


  • False Indigo - True Beauty

    05/26/2016
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    False indigo (Baptisia spp.) is a great plant for the sunny border and has a broad range of flowe...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    05/26/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Flags for Heroes

    05/26/2016
    06:00PM

    Please support our local fundraiser Flags for Heroes which honors heroes in our community and fam...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Fitness Walks

    05/27/2016
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Enjoy the natural beauty of Mt. Cuba Center's gardens, forests, and meadows this spring and exper...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Children’s I-Spy Birding

    05/28/2016
    09:00AM — 10:30AM

    The last Saturday of the month from 9am-10:30am. Join local birding expert and environmental edu...


  • Herp Search

    05/28/2016
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    With Gary Stolz, Naturalist Saturday, May 28th from 2:00PM-4:00PM Location: Bucktoe Creek Prese...


  • Brad and Dad Duo At Kreutz Creek

    05/28/2016
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Come join us for a night of wine and Music May 28th at the Kreutz Creek Wine Tasting Room in West...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Downingtown Fine Arts Festival

    05/29/2016
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    The work of 40 professional artists from all over the United States will converge upon Downingtow...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    05/29/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Twistback Center For The Arts Inaugural Spring Arts Wine and Music Festival will be held on the T...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    05/30/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/01/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/01/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    06/02/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/02/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Kennett/Unionville Relay for Life

    06/03/2016
    06:00PM — 08:00AM

    At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, r...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • On June 4th, 2016, The Octorara School District will be hosting the 2nd Annual Octorara Angels Ra...


  • PurpleStride Delaware 2016 - 5K Run/Walk

    06/04/2016
    08:00AM — 12:00PM

    PurpleStride Delaware is back and better than ever! This year, our 5K run and family-friendly wal...


  • Chester County Blues Barbecue

    06/04/2016
    02:00PM — 07:00PM

    The 7th Annual Chester County Blues Barbecue once again comes to Wyndsor Farm in beautiful northe...


  • Herp Search

    06/04/2016
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the interesting world of the mysterious Reptiles and Amphi...


  • June Barn Dance

    06/04/2016
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    Experience the culture in agriculture at Coverdale Farm Preserve's Saturday barn dance! Bluegrass...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Steamin' Days at Auburn Heights

    06/05/2016
    12:30PM — 04:30PM

    Join us on the first Sundays, June through November for Steamin’ Days at Auburn Heights, when the...


  • Birthday Bash at Auburn Heights

    06/05/2016
    12:30PM — 04:30PM

    In today’s disposable culture, it is not very common for anything to celebrate its 100th birthday...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    06/05/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    06/06/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Selling American Innovation

    06/07/2016
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join Tom Marshall, founder of Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve, as he shares stories from his l...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/08/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/08/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    06/09/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    oin TLC for our Drop-In on Nature Playgroup! This program is designed for children 0-Kindergarten...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/09/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Race to Beat POTS 5K

    06/12/2016
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Kennett Square will be home to a walk and run to raise awareness for Postural Orthostatic Tachyca...


  • Taste Kennett Food Tours

    06/12/2016
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Taste Kennett Food Tours, creators of memorable, unique and fun food experiences, offer three-hou...


  • Join St. Anthony’s Church as we celebrate the art, culture, traditions and excitement of the Rena...


  • oin St. Anthony’s Church as we celebrate the art, culture, traditions and excitement of the Renai...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    06/13/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Pajama Storytime

    06/15/2016
    06:30PM — 07:30PM

    Wednesdays at 6:30 PM - Join us for an evening of stories, songs, crafts, and fun to end your day...


  • Pro-Act's Family Education Program

    06/15/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    When someone is addicted to drugs & alcohol, the diease affects the entire family. Each month PR...


Chester County High School Sports