Rather than letting a cancer patient receive her package by mail, Mark Berler personally delivered a Blue Bag to a Santa Rosa Beach resident's door.
"It's probably the best thing I've ever done in my life," he said.
The Foye Belle Foundation is a local non-profit organization that was founded in November of last year. Its goal is to boost the morale of cancer patients by helping them pass the time during chemotherapy with Blue Bags — a care package full of pick-me-ups.
"My goal is really to be able to comfortably leave our request form open all the time and know that we have enough funding to be able to help anybody who happens to have a need at that time," Berler said.
Their efforts were originally focused on people with breast cancer since that's what his late wife Chelsea was going through. However, as the non-profit grew, people with other forms of cancer started reaching out for support.
"Our website is set up for breast cancer, but I would say that about 20 percent of the people who email me say, 'Hey, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, is it OK for me to request a Blue Bag,' and we have never turned anyone away," said the Walton County resident.
The foundation has shipped around 450 bags since it began, with the vast majority of recipients from the U.S. However, Berler said they've also received some requests from other countries too, including Canada, England and South Africa.
Now, he's working to branch out for sponsorship to boost their monthly goal of 250 shipped bags.
"Our biggest challenge is fundraising and right now there is such a demand for Blue Bags that I temporarily have to stop taking requests on the website," Berler said, who shared that each bag costs about $115.
Mandee Caldwell, a board member who has been with the group since the beginning, said they came up with the idea while Chelsea was still enduring her fight against cancer.
"When Chelsea was first diagnosed, some friends gave her blue bags," said Caldwell, a Santa Rosa Beach resident. "They were literally blue bags, but conceptually, she was to reach into the bag when she was feeling blue to pull a treat out to help improve her day.
"She was adamant that breast cancer was not appropriately represented by a pink ribbon."
In the future, the Foye Belle Foundation — named after Chelsea's grandmother who also passed away from breast cancer — hopes to partner with hospitals and other cancer centers to provide support to patients fighting the the battle against cancer worldwide.
"There are so many people out there that just want somebody to say, 'Be strong, you can do it,'" Berler said.