SISTERHOOD | SUPPORT | HOLISTIC HEALTH
It all started when…
Malas for Tatas was Co-Founded by sisters Erin LeBel and Shannon Briese. In early 2018, Erin was diagnosed with breast cancer. Shannon felt compelled to support her, and being a wellness professional, she knew the impact holistic treatments could have in easing Erin’s discomfort and the symptoms of chemotherapy. However, she also knew that these treatments were not covered by Erin’s health insurance, and that Erin would be unlikely to splurge on them for herself.
Shannon started making prayer malas and selling them to raise money for Erin’s treatment. Her community responded immediately, and after a few months Shannon was able to fund reiki therapy, acupuncture, and nutrition consultation for her sister.
Feeling it was time to pay it forward to someone else, the sisters asked their network to nominate a second recipient: another woman with breast cancer who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford alternative health care treatments.
Malas for Tatas aims to support two women a year, providing them funds for 6 months of self-care or $2,000, whichever comes first. One-hundred percent of the profits from each mala sold go directly toward our current recipient, contributing to her well-being and recovery. We are a Colorado based 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization serving the Denver Metro community.
Meet our Board Of Directors & key contributors
Our board members are something special. The board was formed over period where we just found out our dear friend and sister was going to have to endure breast cancer. It started off with the core 3 of Stacy, Erin and Shannon then grew to Denise and Vanessa to help us navigate the evolution of Malas for Tatas. This group is a close-knit crew of old friends who are coming together because they care, they see a void that needs to be filled in the breast cancer treatment process, and with their whole hearts, they want to see you thrive.
SHANNON BRIESE, EXECUTIVE CHAIR
Shannon enjoys playing outdoors with her husband and daughter, biking, hiking or just relaxing. She loves to soak up the beauty of Colorado, listen to great music and enjoy the day. Shannon has worked in the health and wellness industry for 18 years and finds combining her love of Pilates and massage therapy most rewarding. She strives to surround herself with the best of the best, teaching Pilates and managing her own massage practice, Total Body Wellness at The Pilates Collective in Denver Colorado. Shannon is passionate about helping others feel their best and has brought that dedication with her every step of the way while forming Malas for Tatas. We are also honored to have Shannon as one of our Malas for Tatas preferred providers offering Pilates to our recipients.
Erin LeBel, Executive Co-Chair
Erin enjoys spending time with her family and friends and adventuring in the outdoors. She is a loving mother and wife and enjoys entertaining for friends and family. Erin is a former oncology nurse and now breast cancer survivor. In doing so, she has experienced both sides of this disease. Erin is passionate about utilizing self-care as part of her post treatment lifestyle, regularly making time for reiki, yoga, Pilates, and acupuncture. A natural artist, she is known for creating beautiful malas for malas for tatas.
Vicki Bergman, Treasurer
While Vicki is not a native to Colorado, she has lived more than half of her life enjoying the mountain views and unpredictable weather in Denver. She likes to spend time with her husband, children and friends. She loves to watch her son play baseball and her daughter dance. As a family they are the happiest when they are traveling, spending time outdoors or finding new ways to make a random Saturday in suburbia fun!
Vicki has considerable knowledge in audit, quality control and oversight functions. She has B.S. in Finance and 15+ years of experience in the financial industry. She is currently a Vice President, Vendor Manager at TD Bank supporting the Nordstrom card program. She is grateful to be a part of Malas for Tatas and help women in her community replenish their spirit through holistic self-care as a supplement to their cancer treatments.
Stacy Nelson, Executive Secretary
Stacy is a lover of the outdoors and avid football fan. A dedicated friend and always willing to lend a helping hand. Stacy brings a ferocious ‘let’s get it done energy and have fun doing it attitude!’ Some of her passions include travel, fitness, and photography. We are fortunate to have Stacy’s project management and event planning skills and welcome the fun environment she brings to Malas for Tatas.
Vanessa Cameron, promotions/PR
Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is a certified lymphatic message therapist and esthetician. Vanessa leads with heart and honed her career in the massage and skin care field over the last 19 years. Sessions with her leave you feeling extremely cared for. She has stepped into her roll on the board, excited to help us expand and spread the word of our cause. She is passionate about helping others heal from trauma and help them step into their true selves. We are also honored to have Vanessa as one of our Malas for Tatas preferred providers offering lymphatic drainage therapy to our recipients.
Denise Faddis, Creative Director
Denise loves to come together with friends for a good laugh and enjoys challenging herself with new adventures. She has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the last 7 years and though she is miles away she is never far from her dear friends here at Malas for Tatas. She has been an integral part in the growth and development of Malas for Tatas, developing our brand, gorgeous website, and marketing path. She loves to get outdoors with her family, dance, cook, learn about health and wellness, play and connect with mother nature. An artist by trade, she is experienced in fine art, photography, and design, just to name a few. We are grateful to have her artistic expertise as part of our team. Denise partners with her husband Shane as a dedicated real estate broker in Central Oregon and loves helping people with their goals in real estate.
Gabriel Christus, Recipient Portrait Photographer
Gabriel loves to spend time outdoors capturing life with his lens, especially his lively and adorable daughter, Callista Grace. Gabriel, his wife Holly, and Callista can be found snowboarding the Colorado mountains, running local marathons, and cycling around the city. We are honored to have Gabriel as part of our Malas for Tatas community. He is the Denver Broncos team photographer and donates professional portraits for our recipients, often taken with their family amongst a stunning Colorado backdrop. Learn more about Gabriel here.
Our Mission and Approach
Malas for Tatas is dedicated to helping women with breast cancer afford alternative, holistic health care to supplement cancer treatment.
Having cancer is expensive. Between the cost of treatment, income lost from taking time off work, and the need for additional childcare, many women feel the financial burden of breast cancer nearly as acutely as the physical pain. Although many holistic treatments—such as acupuncture, reiki therapy, and massage therapy—can be immensely healing for women dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment, these therapies are not covered by traditional health insurance plans, and most women can’t justify the cost.
Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury, and it becomes even more important when fighting off disease. With donations from Malas for Tatas, women with breast cancer can prioritize self-care and afford holistic wellness treatments.