Our mission is to compassionately empower and spiritually encourage breast cancer survivors throughout their journey and assist those experiencing financial hardship.
Our vision is to expand our services with love and financial support to help survivors thrive.
Harbor of Hope, Inc. was established in 2011.
Se habla español.
Sonia Ray, President
I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. In 2011 I was diagnosed at the age of 34 with an aggressive form of breast cancer. In 2018 I had a recurrence, stage 4, no cure. I have had eight surgeries including a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. After this 11-year journey I am looking forward to living life to the fullest and fulfilling my God given destiny.
I am first and foremost a dedicated and caring wife and mom. I am a homeschool mom to my 2 sons. My family is my pride and joy and the reason I fought cancer!
During my cancer journey, I found that my purpose in life is to help and encourage those coming behind me in the breast cancer journey. A group of fellow pink sisters and I co-founded Harbor of Hope Inc. in the southside of Atlanta where resources are limited.
Furthermore, expanding in my desire to help others, I volunteer for several not-for-profit organizations. These include Network of Hope at Northside Hospital, where I mentor and serve newly diagnosed patients. Cancer Treatment Centers of America where I volunteer in their Cancer Fighters program. Southern Latin District, Women’s Ministry (SLD). SLD ministers to women in the local churches in the southeast area of the U.S. I am also a board member of Carry The Mission and I partner with several homeschool groups in my area.
I obtained my undergraduate degree from Clayton State University majoring in Business Administration and minoring in accounting. I also studied at Southern Latin District, Assemblies of God and obtained a minister’s certification license.
My life verse is Romans 8:28, “God will turn it to good!” My life motto is: “I believe that with God the best is yet to come!” But most of all, I am and always will be a servant of God. I am honored and humbled that he has called me to serve. Hablo español.
Laura Alvarez, Vice-President
I have been a breast cancer survivor twice, in 2016 and 2020. Harbor of hope has been an integral part of my understanding of cancer and healing; therefore, I am glad to assist those in need through Harbor of Hope, Inc. I am married and have two amazing children. I understand deeply how cancer affects self and loved ones.
I graduated from UGA and have a Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish from NMSU. My passion for language and music has led me to teach for more than twenty years in ESOL, Spanish, and piano. I presently teach at the high school level with a supportive and loving community who have also helped me to cope with cancer. I love to travel with my students, their parents, and friends.
I believe in prayer and in a loving God beyond our understanding. Psalm 23 has become part of my spirit, as I especially prayed it while recovering from surgeries and during 33 rounds of radiation. Do not hesitate to reach us! Hablo español.
Debi Kirkland, Secretary
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from Mercer University and am presently employed full-time with the State of Georgia. I have a son, Garrett, and daughter, Shea, who are everything to me. We enjoy spending time together with our extended family, as family is important to us.
I am a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 HR+ breast cancer in June 2013. I immediately began researching and talked to different women who had been diagnosed with different types of breast cancer and treatment. One of the best decisions I ever made was to attend a Harbor of Hope, Inc. breast cancer support group meeting before my mastectomy in 2013. The ladies shared their journeys and gave me hope and their encouragement and prayers gave me peace. Teresa, at that time, and Sonia were there to pray with me before and after surgery and through chemo. I would not have met these wonderful and caring ladies if I had not been diagnosed with breast cancer. I am so grateful to have them in my life and want to give back to the group of ladies who have given so much spiritual encouragement to me as well as my family. I am also grateful for my gifted surgeons, Dr. Timbert and Dr. Larsen, and my oncologist Dr. Sidhu. I was also blessed beyond measure by my family, friends, coworkers, and church family while undergoing surgery and chemo. Even though I was diagnosed nine years ago, I still enjoy playing a part in the Harbor of Hope breast cancer support group meetings, so that I can offer hope and encouragement to ladies whose journeys are just beginning.
My two favorite verses that helped me through my cancer journey are
Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and
4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.
Shirley Johnson, Treasurer
I have been a breast cancer survivor since 2012. I am employed as the Finance Administrator for the Parking Operation at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. As a single mother of a beautiful daughter, I enjoy family and beach time, and shopping.
Since my cancer journey, it is my pleasure to serve on the Harbor of Hope, Inc. board, as well as encourage other ladies diagnosed with cancer. My favorite scripture is Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” I am a faithful member and servant at Victory Tabernacle Church International in McDonough, GA.
Dr. Shirlene Blasingame Carter, Board Member
Four years after retirement, I was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 9, 2016. After various tests, it was discovered that I had triple negative breast cancer in the right breast and invasive lobular in the left breast simultaneously. Both forms of cancer were stage one and had not spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes.
I am so grateful to God for blessing me with a team of doctors who took very good care of me. I had a bilateral mastectomy and afterwards did 20 rounds of chemotherapy. Following chemotherapy, I had reconstructive surgery. Due to the type of cancer in my left breast, I took a hormone inhibitor for 5 years as a precautionary measure. In addition to my amazing family and friends, Harbor of Hope, Inc. reached out to me and offered a variety of support during my breast cancer journey. When I was voted in as a board member for Harbor of Hope, Inc. I was more than happy to become a part of an organization who has made and continues to make a difference in the lives of breast cancer survivors. I am here to help.
Becky Rawlins, Board Member
I joined the Harbor of Hope Board in 2019 as a three-year breast cancer survivor. I am a retired Registered Dental Hygienist with forty-seven years of experience and I loved my job because it allowed me to help my patients understand whole body health. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Eddie Rawlins, of Stone Mountain, Georgia. We have two adult children, three well-loved granddaughters and one beloved great grandson. Our son, Scott is a U.S. Army veteran who served twenty-eight months of combat duty during Iraqi Freedom III and Operation Enduring Freedom. Our daughter, Amanda, is Executive Director of the Hands of Hope Clinic which serves indigent medical and dental patients. Amanda also developed and designed Millie’s Mini pantry, a self-service pantry available to the public, providing food and hygiene needs at no charge. My husband, Eddie, has volunteered his musical talent at nursing homes since 2004.
I have served as President of the Woman’s Missionary Union at my church and currently volunteer at the Hands of Hope Clinic on the campus of Piedmont Henry Hospital. I am grateful for my breast surgeon, now retired, Dr. Timbert. His comprehensive care at Piedmont Henry Hospital made my journey so much easier than it could have been. I am honored to serve on the board of Harbor of Hope, Inc. I love to share what I have learned about health and healing after cancer. My favorite Bible verse during my own journey is Psalm 46:10 because it calms my fears and gives me strength. “Be still and know that I am God”.
Vicky Batten, Board Member
I was 46 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. I did chemo, surgery, and radiation. With the help of my loving family, friends, and my church Glen Haven Baptist I was able to overcome many hard days. My awesome breast doctor, Dr. Timbert, my chemo doctor, Dr. Sidhu, and their office staff helped me beat breast cancer! In 2016, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Again, with the support of my family, friends, and church I’m proud to say that I’m a survivor of that cancer as well. I am also in a very amazing support group, Harbor of Hope, Inc. I was chosen to be the Face of Hope in 2014 to represent this group of ladies going through breast cancer. I also volunteer in our boutique that offers wigs, hats, scarves, bras, and prosthesis. All of these are free for women diagnosed with cancer. We also take donations to help our boutique in giving back to the community. I am truly blessed to have such an incredible support system and a great way to help others with volunteering at the boutique.