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Jessica's Story

Jessica Smith, founder and Executive Director of the Bella Donna Project was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer on May 11, 2017 at Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. At that time, she was making weekly, and sometimes bi-weekly trips to Louisville, from Owensboro, for testing to prepare for surgery. The nurse navigator referred Jessica to a hospital social worker. One of the social worker’s first questions to Jessica was if any assistance was needed paying household bills. Having looked around the websites of some of the larger foundations, Jessica knew they required information such as tax returns, pay stubs and physicians letters before they would even consider any type of financial assistance. It was overwhelming to think you had to do so much for foundations that exist to help women with breast cancer. The social worker told Jessica there was a local foundation that was ready to help. It was a welcomed relief that a copy of her monthly bills was all that was requested. Within a matter of days, the social worker informed Jessica that her bills would be paid, for one month, up to $1500.00.

When Jessica had surgery in June of 2017, it was determined that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. This required 16 weeks of chemo and 5 weeks of radiation. Jessica decided to have that treatment in Owensboro. Through many talks with the Owensboro Health social workers and nurse navigators, Jessica learned that no one in Owensboro had heard of the foundation that helped her in Louisville. Thus, the dream of the Bella Donna Project was born.

Jessica completed treatment in May of 2018. Her passion and desire in life has now become that of helping other women face breast cancer with the same love and strength that she felt from others around her. And, to make financial assistance easy to attain. The last thing a woman facing breast cancer should have to worry about is paying bills and spending time worrying about how to get financial assistance.

If your group or organization would be interested in having Jessica speak at your next meeting or event, email, or call 859-967-4299.