In 2001, the Barnett-Searing National Cancer Foundation (BSNCF) was created to honor two courageous women while continuing their legacy through philanthropy.

Watch the video to learn more about the legacy.

Mary Barnett grew up in Baltimore’s Shrine of the Little Flower Parish, attended Seton High School, and graduated from Towson State Teachers College in 1971. After teaching second grade for two years, she became a full-time mother of two boys and a girl. Slowly, she returned to teaching. First, as a volunteer, next as a substitute, and finally, as a full-time teacher. She ended her career as a reading specialist at Pine Grove Middle School in Baltimore County.

Mary was an amazing person with a gift for teaching. She shared her love for learning with her students and made a lasting impression on their lives. She always had a positive attitude about education, life, and the people around her. Her family was the most important thing in her life. She fought hard but eventually lost her battle against cancer. Mary died of uterine sarcoma on September 6, 2002, at the age of 55.


Mary's Poem

I want to leave you with something better than words or sounds.

Look for me in people whom I have known and loved; and if you cannot live without me, then let me live on in your eyes, your mind, and your acts of kindness.

Love does not die; people do. So, when all that is left of me is love…. give me away.

Mary Barnett (1/5/1947 – 9/6/2002)
Wife, Mother, Teacher, Friend

Jennifer Searing grew up in Harford County, Maryland. She attended North Harford High School, where she was president of her senior class. While in high school, she was awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award for her work with migrant children and a Senatorial Scholarship for her community service. Before graduating from Towson State University in 1990, Jenny completed a year abroad at Melbourne University in Australia. After graduation, she worked for the City Paper in Baltimore. 

Jenny was a caring and sincere young woman. Those who knew her - even for a short time - felt blessed by her presence in their lives. Always ready with a smile, a word of encouragement, or her contagious laugh, she positively impacted those who knew her. Jenny died of ovarian sarcoma on July 16, 1995, at the age of 26.

Jenny's Butterfly Poem

Oh! I wish I were a butterfly
To be free to go
And fly high.

I would spread my wings,
My beautiful wings,
And do all sorts of silly things.

And when it was time to go,
I would soar high
And the wind would blow.

And if I were to die,
Deep down I would know
That everyone loves a butterfly!

Jennifer Searing (8/13/1968 – 7/16/1995)
Poem written at age 13

The Legacy

Kevin Barnett lost his mother, Mary Barnett, to uterine sarcoma. John Searing lost his sister, Jennifer Searing, to ovarian sarcoma. Because of Mary and Jenny's valiant efforts to survive cancer, their families and friends have dedicated the Foundation to making a difference in the lives of women battling cancer. The goal is a nonprofit organization of founders, friends, family, and supporters who improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their loved ones while keeping Jenny's and Mary's lights shining brightly.

Our Mission

Through the years, the Foundation has made a difference in countless lives through a variety of projects that offer comfort to cancer patients and their families. Our mission is to support women of all ages affected by cancer and the loved ones who care for them. The inspiration for our mission came from a poem written by Mary Barnett. She asked that her spirit lives on through acts of kindness. We are committed to positively impacting the emotional and physical health of women with cancer, lifting them up, and offering them hope.

Our Community

Our BSNCF community includes individuals who have been affected by cancer. We are sisters, brothers, moms, dads, grandparents, friends, family, survivors, patients, caregivers, and members of the medical community. We provide the opportunity to make personal connections and have genuine conversations about the struggles, victories, and everyday challenges of living with cancer. Our community encourages, celebrates, and grieves. We are all in this fight together.

Our Logo

We chose the BSNCF giving tree logo with careful consideration. The leaves illustrate the various meaningful projects we have completed through the years. The butterfly, resembling a leaf floating away from the tree, is symbolic of the legacy of Mary and Jenny (who wrote an inspirational poem about butterflies). We chose vibrant hues of blues and greens to represent hope. The roots of the tree are grounded and steadfast like the strong leaders of our Foundation, firmly supporting its branches.

The Gift of Experience

BSNCF offers our supporters experiences that bring our community together, including:

  • crafting inspirational cards
  • assembling or delivering Smile Kits
  • hosting or attending fundraisers
  • organizing shoe drives

Donors may also choose to give back by sharing stories, wearing BSNCF gear to an athletic event, or participating in the annual Thrivers Virtual Run/Walk. We also look for opportunities to partner with corporations to create employee give-back experiences that produce social impact.

Our Future

The next chapter of BSNCF looks bigger, brighter, and better than ever. We have enlisted unique leadership and amazing skills-based volunteers. We invite you to participate in our Thriver Stories, Thrivers Virtual Run/Walk, and Escape to Margaritaville fundraiser. We have done significant work, but know there is much more to do. Join us!