Written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern
Over 60% of the population says that it experiences chronic loneliness, according to pbs.org. Local Lynchburg organization Love Heals is on a mission to combat this loneliness epidemic by helping those in need, standing by them so “no one walks through hardship alone.”
Love Heals was first introduced to the world by accident, when current Founder and Executive Director Courtney Green had a close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.
The diagnosis shifted her friend’s world, and suddenly she found herself in more need than she ever had before. Another friend in Green’s circle suggested throwing a concert where their friend would share her story and diagnosis.
All of the proceeds were thereafter given directly to their friend battling breast cancer.
Over time Green and others began to throw benefit concerts at local churches and venues to help locals in need share their stories and raise funds to help with whatever they were going through.
In 2022, Love Heals became an official nonprofit organization and in March of 2023, Green was able to be hired as the Executive Director.
In the past nine months of its official inception, Love Heals has hosted multiple benefit concerts, with a culminating campaign happening on Dec. 2.
This benefit concert features upcoming artists Terrian and RENEE.
Seven beneficiaries from past benefits will be featured at the event, coming back to share the stories and update where they are in their lives.
Love Heals focuses on developing deep connections with beneficiaries and stands alongside them even after, for example, they go into remission from cancer or find a steady job where they can afford to pay their monthly rent.
In order to find these beneficiaries, Love Heals partners with local nonprofits and organizations and asks “Who in your community can we help right now?”
As they transition into a new year of operation they plan to instill a selection committee that will filter nominations and verify information to make sure that partners are being seen and heard.
Not all beneficiaries want to publicize their stories, and Love Heals still helps those who are not comfortable with standing on a stage and broadcasting the raw reality of what they are going through.
The upcoming selection committee will be able to focus on all aspects of that process and give assistance to those across the spectrum of comfortability.
The same beneficiaries who will be featured at the Dec. 2 event will also be honored at the Love Heals Polar Plunge and Family Festival taking place this Sunday, Nov. 26 from 3-5pm at The Sparrow Estate.
Nonprofit partners like the Academy Center for the Arts with the Art in Motion bus, The Arc of Central Virginia, and IRON Lives will be present. Other nonprofit organizations are welcome to set up tables at Sunday’s event as well.
The event also boasts free s’mores, hot chocolate and plenty of family friendly activities like cornhole and arts and crafts.
The event will wrap up with a plunge into the pond located at the Estate. It costs $7 to plunge and participants will receive a bracelet with the names of the seven beneficiaries on it.
All funds will go directly to the needs of the beneficiaries.
To learn more about Love Heals and their upcoming events visit their SHARE Greater Lynchburg profile.