As high school graduation approached, the future looked bright for Hannah Cobley, set to start her college journey at the University of Arizona – until she received a life-altering cancer diagnosis. Despite the challenging 2.5-year treatment period, she emerged with a new perspective and a mission. Cobley founded Lighthouse For Hope, a non-profit aiding families of children with cancer by providing support that traditional insurance often doesn’t cover.

Now at 26, Hannah reflects on her journey:

Name: Hannah Cobley, Executive Director at Lighthouse For Hope
Age: 26
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Education: Two years of undergrad prior to launching the nonprofit

Diagnosed at 17, how did this experience shape who you are today?

Being diagnosed just before turning 18 allowed Hannah a unique perspective during a pivotal life stage, prompting a fast-tracked maturity. The experience profoundly influenced her current identity and life choices.

“I say all the time that I have absolutely no idea where I would be or what I would be doing with my life if I hadn’t gotten cancer.”

Founding Lighthouse For Hope after your recovery, when did you decide to start this organization?

Following her 2.5-year treatment and a subsequent family cancer diagnosis, Hannah felt a calling to channel her survivorship into meaningful action, leading to the birth of Lighthouse For Hope.

What were the biggest obstacles in starting Lighthouse For Hope?

Hannah’s biggest challenge lay in garnering belief and support for her deeply personal mission, as Lighthouse is intrinsically linked to her own cancer experience.

How has Lighthouse For Hope evolved and what are your future aspirations?

Lighthouse has rapidly expanded, transitioning from a home-based operation to a comprehensive nonprofit with a broader scope. Hannah envisions Lighthouse becoming a household name like renowned charitable organizations in the pediatric cancer space.

Expanding beyond Arizona, what are the growth plans for Lighthouse For Hope?

While rooted in Arizona, Lighthouse collaborates with hospitals across the U.S., aiming to extend its reach and impact by partnering with regional medical centers and ultimately broadening its national presence.

Limitations aside, how many families can your organization support?

Currently, five families monthly benefit from financial aid, along with various events and programs to assist them. Lighthouse also provides essential supplies during crises like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting on Lighthouse For Hope’s inaugural year, what has been the key lesson?

Hannah learned firsthand the power of unexpected support and perseverance, discovering that resilience and conviction were pivotal in navigating the challenges of starting a nonprofit.

Reflecting on your journey, what advice would you offer to prospective nonprofit founders?

Hannah advocates for a clear and vital mission when launching a nonprofit, emphasizing that a focused cause maximizes impact.

With numerous objectives in sight, what major goal does Lighthouse For Hope aim to achieve this year?

Key goals for the organization include expanding services nationwide, strengthening community ties, and establishing a dedicated space, “The LightHOUSE,” to enhance family support.

Tell us about your “Annual Night To Be A Light” event and other initiatives held throughout the year.

The event, initiated modestly, has evolved into a primary fundraiser, reflecting the organization’s growth and fundraising success. Additionally, Lighthouse engages in various fundraising events and activities to bolster its mission year-round.

For those wanting to support Lighthouse For Hope, what avenues are available for assistance and donations?

Individuals can contribute through donations, merchandise purchases, and spreading awareness via social media, enhancing community engagement and support for Lighthouse’s cause.

Describing your daily routine, how do you maintain balance amidst your career and personal life?

Hannah acknowledges the difficulty in delineating work and personal life due to the deeply intertwined nature of her nonprofit. While challenging, she remains hopeful and motivated by the positive impact Lighthouse For Hope brings to families in need.

Guiding others through difficult times, what advice do you offer when facing adversity?

Hannah emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and processing difficult emotions. She encourages individuals to embrace vulnerability and seek support, understanding that resilience can coexist with moments of vulnerability and fear.

Reflecting on personal growth, what wisdom would you share with your younger self?

Looking back, Hannah imparts the realization of life’s purpose and the value of patience, urging her younger self to find purpose in every experience, no matter how challenging.

Hannah Cobley is The Everygirl…

Guilty Pleasure? Singing in the car, enjoying McDonald’s fries, and Dr. Pepper.

Ideal Friday Night?Charcuterie board, wine, and good company!

Spring or Summer? Spring! Summers in Arizona are challenging.

Go-to Coffee Order? Iced vanilla latte with almond milk!

Item you can’t leave the house without? Hand sanitizer (especially during COVID-19 times)!

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why? Nora McInerny for her insightful views on grief and life’s challenges.


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