In February of 2020, our mother was diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer. At the time Shannon was 22 and Nicole was 20. We were both forced to confront our mother 's mortality far before we were ever prepared to.
Our mother's cancer turned out to be inoperable, and she spent three years in constant treatment. Though we were lucky to share some priceless experiences with our mom during that time, we were constantly aware that it couldn't last forever.
Our mom died from complications of her cancer in April of 2023, just two weeks short of her 61st birthday.
Every moment since her diagnosis has been fraught with anxiety and grief. We leaned on each other, but we still felt isolated because of our experience.
We wanted to create a platform that would help those of us who have faced the illness or death of a parent connect over shared experiences and learn from each other.
Grief of a parent in adolescence or young adulthood is often lonely. As two daughters isolated by loss, we want to create the community and foster the connections we wished we'd always had.
Shannon is the oldest of the Two Daughters, and currently lives in Sacramento, California, where she works in social services policy. She received her B.Sc. in Honors Environmental Science from the University of British Columbia and her Master of Environmental Management from Yale. In her free time, Shannon enjoys hiking, cooking, making cakes, going out for cocktails with her boyfriend, Spencer, and snuggling with her cat Sherlock.
Gillian Sawyer currently works in the ocean-climate space as the Senior Manager for Blue Climate Strategy at Conservation International. As a native Marylander, she got her start in coastal restoration as an elementary schooler by planting seagrass in the Chesapeake Bay. She holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Marys College of Maryland. Gillian's connection to Two Daughters Foundation is personal. After losing a father to pancreatic cancer in 2019, she struggled to find resources designed for young people faced with the death of a parent. Gillian hopes Two Daughters Foundation can offer a community of support and love for young people coping with grief. Gillian currently resides in Washington, DC with her fiancé and goldendoodle, Leo.
Spencer is an experienced software and firmware engineer, with years of experience in web development. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2021 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Physics. Since graduating, he has worked as a firmware engineer at Tesla and software engineer at Paperclip Labs, a company he and his brother founded. He lives with Shannon, his girlfriend, in Sacramento, where he enjoys attending improv, going out for drinks, cycling, and hiking with his golden retriever, Stella.
Shirvin is a Registered Clinical Counselor based in the beautiful Vancouver, Canada. As someone who grew up with minimal exposure to mental health and living under the pressures of being “perfect,“ Shirvin has learned different ways to reframe, extend compassion, and embrace mistakes. It's an honor to help individuals strengthen their mental health muscle and I hope to add a cultural perspective to it. Outside of counseling, I'm also an avid lover of video games, ultimate frisbee, and all things food.
A native Oregonian, Caroline Doyle's childhood and adolescence was spent growing up alongside her best friend, Nicole Bell. Through the years, Caroline grew to know and love her older sister Shannon, and their incredible mother, Bernadine. She feels extremely motivated and honored to be joining the Two Sisters Foundation Board, for both personal and professional ties, and hopes to provide a strong network for young adults facing grief. Caroline completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon in 2021, where she fundraised extensively for St. Jude Children' Research Hospital. She is currently a second-year medical student at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, NE, working towards her MD. While still undecided on her specialty, she is very interested in OBGYN and feels passionate about advocating for a myriad of women's health concerns. In her free time, Caroline loves to run/workout, cheer on Oregon Ducks football, write poetry, travel, and spend as much time as possible with family and friends.
Kim lives in Portland, Oregon where she is currently finishing school to be an esthetician and nail technician. Previously, she spent over five years working in digital marketing after graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in advertising. Throughout her life, she has dedicated herself to a variety of charitable groups, including the Sparrow Club and the Cat Rescue and Adoption Network. In her off time, she enjoys baking, record collecting, traveling, and all things DIY. She lives with her sister Liz and is obsessed with their cats Maisie and Padme and dog Archie.
Corrin Hoyer is a student at the University of Oregon studying English and Planning, Public Policy, and Management. She grew up being supported through her mother's cancer diagnosis but found resources lacking past childhood. Because of this, she is passionate about providing resources and support to those going through a parent's illness in early adulthood. She enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her 2 chihuahuas.
Elizabeth (Liz) Peoples
Liz Peoples is a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor, having graduated in 2017 from the AAMFT-accredited Couples and Family Therapy program at the University of Oregon. Liz offers an accessible and equitable approach in providing mental health care, and understands the implications of grief and loss are unique and vulnerable to each person. As a counselor, Liz specializes in chronic health, medical, and trauma-related issues, incorporating evidence-based interventions and encouraging authenticity. In her free time, Liz enjoys cooking, playing with her pets, traveling, and listening to Taylor Swift.
Professor. Berry Goddess. Our Mom.
Bernadine, our mom, was a brilliant scientist, and if you Google her, you will see pages of articles about how she, "The Berry Goddess" changed how berries are grown around the world. Though the world saw her as an exceptional in her work, we knew that she was even more amazing as a mom. Mom was the most thoughtful person in our family, always wanting to make you feel special and loved. None of us ever went a day without knowing how much she loved us and was proud of us. We don't know how she managed to do that while being an absolute force of nature in her career, but we continue to be grateful for all the special moments we were able to share with her.