It all began at a wine night hosted by Samantha Moatz, a local breast cancer survivor. Sam was looking for support nine years after her breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 23 and found it with the ten ladies she welcomed into her home that evening. Each had their own stories to share about their battle with breast cancer. That gathering was the catalyst for a breast cancer support group called 412Thrive.
“When going through a miracle pregnancy after breast cancer, I felt alone. I needed to find women who could help me through tough times and show empathy instead of sympathy. I started an Instagram account called @milkless.mama and found women from around the world who were in similar situations, and a few were close to home. I invited these women to my house for wine, and we knew this was the kinship we had been desperately missing. In September 2020, I began the steps to establish a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Less than three years later, we support nearly 500 Thrivers in Southwestern PA,” said Sam.
The 412 comes from the Pittsburgh area code. “Thinking of a name I loved and felt ‘just right’ was probably the hardest part of the process for me. I am a Yinzer, and I knew I wanted to include 412 and black and gold instead of pink ribbons (honestly, some breast cancer patients are sick of the pink ribbons), so with the help of our VP Cara Snyder, and her husband, Jeremy, we decided on 412Thrive,” Sam added.
The mission of 412Thrive is to help a community of individuals impacted by breast cancer and genetic mutations that lead to cancer. They strive to create a support system that makes everyone feel secure and included. 412Thrive provides dinners, cleaning services and personalized care packages, but most importantly, they support Thrivers of all ages and all stages.
Sam wants women to know that support is available. “You do not have to fight this alone. There are several services right here in Pittsburgh that can help you and your loved ones get through this together. And if you don’t have a supportive family at home, 412Thrive can be that support you need. We also accept Previvors. Meaning you don’t have to have a diagnosis of breast cancer to join. You can be diagnosed with a genetic mutation that leads to breast cancer.”
Fortunately, people are noticing the remarkable work of this group. According to Sam, “412Thrive is growing stronger by the day. People find us online through our website, social media, word of mouth, and at their doctor’s office – either from our flyers or from a Thriver who meets them there.”
“Our first year was funded by generous donors. In our second year, we began applying for grants and received a few, one of which was from the Pittsburgh Foundation. It has helped us fund our care packages and monthly Thriver meet-ups. We also held our first annual 412Thrive wellness retreat through funding from UPMC. The retreat provided a weekend-long getaway. Sisterhoods were formed, and we created a tribe of individuals who lift each other up when we are feeling down, which can be often in the world of breast cancer,” noted Sam.
Next month, 412Thrive is hosting their first ever big fundraising event, a black-tie Casino Night, from 6-10 p.m. on March 31 at the downtown Pittsburgh Westin. In addition, there is a VIP hour at five o’clock. They have a goal of raising enough funds to provide a full year of services. For ticket information or how to become a sponsor, please visit www.412Thrive.org
By Paula Green