Mercedes-Benz of Cincinnati & Mercedes-Benz of West Chester: Helping Others



Pink Ribbon Girls

Tracie Martin would love to lose her job.

That would mean a cure for cancer had been found, and the free services provided by Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG), a nonprofit support network Martin and her friends founded 16 years ago for women in the Tri-State diagnosed with breast cancer – and now, other reproductive cancers – would no longer be needed.

Until that cure is discovered, however, Martin, a 17-year breast cancer survivor, and her organization of fellow survivors, have work to do. Pink Ribbon Girls strives to lessen the fear and uncertainty that a cancer diagnosis forces on individuals and families by delivering healthy meals, cleaning houses, providing rides to treatment and offering peer support.

“We’re the sisters or mothers who can’t be there to help during a very difficult time,” says Martin, the group’s director, who also spends her time raising funds and awareness about how PRG assists breast and reproductive cancer patients no matter their age, cancer stage or income level. “We’ve been through it, and we just want to help.”

The organization’s slogan is, “No one travels this road alone.”

“I was lucky,” says Martin, who was 30 years old and the mother of a baby and a toddler at the time of her diagnosis. “I had plenty of relatives and friends who kicked in to help me get through six months of chemo, doing everything they could to help so I could focus on getting better.”

For those without a support network, however, PRG serves as a burden-easing lifeline. The flash-frozen nutritious meals delivered directly to patients’ homes are prepared by executive chefs. Cleaning services are provided by professional, bonded and insured companies. Rides to and from treatment are managed by PRG’s transportation specialist.

In 2016, PRG provided 61,000 meals, 900 house cleanings and 2,100 rides to treatment.

For more information, email or visit


Pray~Hope~Believe Foundation

Through their pain, they offer others hope.

The Pray~Hope~Believe Foundation (PHBF) was established by Lynne and Rick Merk not only to honor the memory of the couple’s 6-year-old son, Tony, who died in 2011 after a courageous battle with brain cancer, but also to help prevent other families from having to endure such indescribably painful journeys of loss.

The PHBF provides funding for pediatric brain tumor research, supports children and teens diagnosed with life-threatening conditions and commemorates Tony’s life through scholarships.

“Tony adopted the theme of pray, hope and believe – it’s a good message, Tony liked it – and it has helped our healing by focusing on those words,” says Lynne. “We think they’re meaningful, they work for us and they seem to work for lots of others.”

Typically, adult cancer treatments – primarily chemotherapy and radiation – are administered to children diagnosed with cancer. But since children’s bodies and brains are still developing, entirely different, more dramatic side effects ensue. Hearing loss, cataracts, coordination problems, cognitive deficits, seizures and future heart problems are just a few.

“Yes, there are some treatments that help beat childhood cancer, but there is a significant price to pay,” Lynne says.

The Merks, through PHBF, have helped raise more than $300,000 for children’s cancer research, have funded five annual Family Camp Days at Camp Joy and have supported many young brain cancer patients and their families in collaboration with the psycho-social support team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.

“Throughout our journey with Tony, we couldn’t believe how little federal funding – less than four percent – goes toward all pediatric cancers combined,” says Lynne, who watched her son fight for almost three years. “We purposefully focus on pediatric brain cancer because it is the deadliest form of cancer in children. It’s so hard to see families go through what we went through, but we feel like we’re making a difference in their lives.”

For information about the Pray~Hope~Believe Foundation, write P.O. Box 53236, Cincinnati OH 45253; call 513.304.2388; email; or visit



Mercy Health Cincinnati Foundation & Mobile Mammography

Donations to Mercy Health Cincinnati Foundation change peoples’ lives in Greater Cincinnati in a myriad of ways, but it all begins with the organization’s mission – ensuring easy access to quality, compassionate healthcare.

The foundation partners with donors to make lives healthier, thereby making communities stronger. Funds raised go to Mercy Health’s network of not-for-profit programs and facilities, including hospitals, senior living facilities and community outreach.

“The Jewish Hospital-Mercy Health Mobile Mammography program, supported by funding through our foundation, is a great example of our community outreach where we take healthcare directly to patients at various locations throughout Cincinnati,” says Jon Labbe, foundation president and CEO.

The vans feature 3D digital mammography, a state-of-the-art breast imaging procedure that offers a clearer image, resulting in the most accurate detection of early breast cancer. The foundation, particularly concerned about delivering this important, early screening to those who may not be able to afford it, offers financial resources to those in need. It is currently raising funds to put into place an enhanced screening protocol that will ensure mammography patients and their physicians receive screening results within one business day.

The Heart of Gold Memorial Fund, founded by the Peters family of Cincinnati in memory of their mom, Marge (a former employee of The Jewish Hospital), and their brother, Tim, is an avid supporter of the mobile mammography program.

“Our mission is to support those who go above and beyond in their daily jobs caring for others,” says Jamie Peters Mazza. “We feel so good about raising money for the mobile mammography program. They are just awesome, dedicated and compassionate people, so we are happy to help fund the program in our mom’s memory.”

To schedule a mammogram with the Mercy Health Mobile Mammography, call 513.686.3300 or 855.PINK123 (855.746.5123).

Mercy Health Foundation is located at 1701 Mercy Health Place, Cincinnati, OH 45237. For more information, call 513.952.4019 or visit


The Cure Starts Now

The Cure Starts Now Foundation raised $10 million in research funding in the first 10 years of their dauntless worldwide drive to eliminate not only pediatric brain cancer, but cancer as a whole.

And it all began in Cincinnati with young Elena Desserich, diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare, highly aggressive and difficult-to-treat brain tumor, found at the base of her brain when she was 5 years old. The story of Elena’s brave medical battle inspired tens of thousands of people nationwide and across the world through the New York Times best-selling book, “Notes Left Behind.”

After Elena’s courageous fight ended nine months after it began, her parents, Brooke and Keith Desserich, founded the foundation, considered to be one of the leaders in non-government funding of pediatric brain cancer research and a pioneer in the effort to find the cure to all cancers, starting with DIPG.

“There will never be a reason for losing my daughter, but the Cure Starts Now certainly gives a lot of purpose to what we are doing, in her honor, continuing not only her legacy but the legacies of all the other children lost through DIPG,” says Brooke, co-founder and executive director of the foundation. “If they can find the key to successfully treating DIPG, it will open the door to ending all other cancers. It all starts with the children.”

The foundation consists of 32 chapters on three continents, with 100 percent of donations going to research. About 150 worldwide fundraising events are held annually. The Cincinnati chapter’s eighth annual Beer, Wine and Food Festival fundraiser is scheduled for October 13-14 from 5-11 p.m. at 400 Wyoming Ave. in Wyoming.

The Cure Starts Now recently announced a new $2.6 million partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which will fast track drugs, treatments and clinical trials for children with high-risk tumors. It’s a revolutionary concept, Brooke says, and she hopes it will prove to be an essential building block in finding the cure.

“Our foundation work is our passion,” says Brooke, “and we won’t stop until a cure for DIPG is found.”

For a listing of upcoming fundraising events, visit

The Cure Starts Now Foundation is located at 10280 Chester Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215. For more information, call 513.772.4888, email or visit