Who We Are

Hugs of Hope was formed by the Pitts family, encompassing the vision Elizabeth Pitts had for the organization.  Elizabeth wanted a foundation that helped the patient, the siblings, the parents, and the community who supported the family.  As well, she wanted to ensure that more was done in her community to help pediatric cancer families and to raise awareness to this deadly disease.


When Elizabeth passed away in July 2010, she made it clear what her goals were for the foundation. The organization would provide social, emotional, educational, spirtual, and financial assistance to families facing the effects of pediatric cancer as well as raise awareness in the community about the disease.

Since the foundation became a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization in April 2011, many of the families in the area have been assisted. As of January 2012, over 23 families have been affected in the last 6 years by this disease in and around Valdosta. Currently there are no local treatment centers, and patients must travel a minimum of 230 miles to receive care. Since 2005, 7 children in Valdosta have died from cancer or its effects.

In 2011, the board consisted of Melanie Pitts, Reena Bailey, Paula Burgess, Brooke Butler, Debbie Dowdy, Jennifer Johnson, and Susan Kramer. The board for 2012 is made up by Benjamin Pitts, Melanie Pitts, Becky McLendon, and Ashley Dasher. . Interested applicants can email a request for consideration to benmelel@bellsouth.net with the subject: Hugs of Hope Board.

In 2011, over $6000 was donated to local families who were in financial need. As well, several families received Christmas gifts for each child in the family and a holiday meal was provided.  As of June 20, 2012, almost $10,000 has been donated to local families in need!  We have raised funds to help with medical expenses, funeral expenses, living expenses, and more.  We will host several fundraisers between September and December to assist the families even further!

Several functions were held in 2011 to benefit Hugs of Hope, the families it serves and other patients in the area Children’s hospitals. See our page Upcoming Events to see what functions will be held in 2012. If you have ideas or suggestions for other benefits, please email us to share your idea!