A personal experience with her husband’s battle with cancer led South Walton resident Michele Bailey to found Bailey’s Brigade in 2021, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Walton County residents diagnosed with cancer with co-pay assistance, donated backpacks of helpful supplies for patients undergoing treatment, and education scholarships for area students entering the medical field.
“When my husband, Scott, was diagnosed in April 2020, we never imagined the journey that lay ahead. Our struggles ran the gamut from financial to day-to-day tasks and ultimately managing our grief in our loss when cancer took him from us way too soon,” explained Michele. “Throughout our journey, we were fortunate to have the support of our community and friends. It was through this support that the Bailey Brigade was born with the mission of providing financial and tangible support to families in need who may not have the same support system.”
The Bailey Brigade offers support in three areas:
Brigade Backpacks: Care bags are provided for patients beginning treatment filled with items of comfort and support – snacks to help nausea, high quality lotions and lip balms to soothe battered bodies, handwritten notes of support, and more.
Co-pay Assistance: Qualifying patients may receive co-pay assistance to help cover treatment costs.
Education Scholarship to Local Students: Students entering the medical field may apply for scholarships to help with education expenses.
The Bailey Brigade is a nonprofit affiliated with the Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Care at Santa Rosa Beach and oncologist Mose S. Hayes, III, MD. In addition to Michelle, the board of directors includes Alison Nazarowski (Vice President, Director), Christine Tarpey (Assistant Secretary, Director), Jan Sirmans (Title Secretary, Director), and Jennifer Rhea (Title Assistant Treasurer, Director).
“Cancer affects nearly everyone. Our health is a blessing and when we don’t have good health it is a game changer,” said Jan Sirmans, Bailey Brigade Title Secretary and Chief Operating Officer at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida. “I want to be a part of the Bailey Brigade to help lessen the toll cancer takes on local families and help give them the strength to fight what they are facing. No one’s experience is ever the same, but we are stronger when we fight together.”
The Bailey Brigade relies on volunteers and community support to accomplish its initiatives. Volunteers or businesses wishing to participate can give time packing care bags and providing prayers to struggling patients and their caregivers. Tax deductible donations can be made via the website in monthly increments or one-time sums. Corporate sponsorships are also available for companies wishing to partner in the Bailey Brigade’s mission of tangibly and financially supporting local residents affected by cancer. To learn more, visit www.baileybrigade.com.