It is unfortunate, but true, that a breast cancer diagnosis often puts huge stresses on a familyâs financial situation during a time that is already filled with uncertainty. Many patients find themselves unable to work while they are undergoing treatment. If they donât have a safety net, either in terms of savings, disability, or paid leave from a job, not only is their health at risk, but sadly, their financial health may also be in jeopardy.
It was this reality that caused The Pink Fundâs founder, Molly MacDonald, to envision a non-profit that could step in to temporarily fill this void.
Mollyâs personal experiences, coupled with her empathy and compassion were the seeds necessary to not only imagine this sort of non-profit, but to make it a reality.
It all began with Mollyâs personal 2005 breast cancer diagnosis
With no family history of the disease, and having always enjoyed clean mammograms, breast cancer was the furthest thing from Mollyâs mind. So in April of 2005, when she learned that calcifications in her milk ducts had formed DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), she was caught completely off guard. The timing couldnât have been worse! Not only did she find herself between jobs, she was trying to make sure she had health insurance coverage, which meant paying for a costly COBRA plan.
Although this type of breast cancer is often considered a Stage 0, Molly had to undergo two surgeries and six weeks of daily radiation. She quickly recognized that if this relatively brief downtime had affected her finances in a negative way, women facing extensive treatments were certainly having their lives disrupted much more profoundly.
Realizing that just like in her situation, many of these women had familiesÂ who were dependent upon their income and health insurance, she found herself wondering what happened toÂ women who are too ill to work. What about women who might lose a job if they took too much time off for treatment and recovery?
When she began asking questions of her healthcare providers, she discovered that not only was this a real problem, there was nothing in place to assist â no safety net for the women needing help so desperately. At this juncture Molly became determined to make a difference because she wanted breast cancer patients to be able to focus on getting better â not about how to make ends meet.
In 2007 Mollyâs vision became a reality and The Pink Fund began providing short-term financial aid to those in need during treatment and recovery.
How do you know if you qualify for assistance from The Pink Fund?
The Pink Fund distributes short-termÂ financial aid for basic living expenses on behalf of breast cancer patients whoÂ have lost all or a part of their income during active treatment.Â Payments are made directly to the patientâs creditors.
- Short term is defined as a period of up to three consecutive months of non-medical financial assistance with a cap of $3,000, based on available funding. Please note their ability to provide support varies based on the number of qualified applicants and available funding.
- Basic living expenses considered are: health insurance premiums, mortgage or rent payments, car payments, carÂ insurance or utilities. The Pink Fund does not make payments for any medicalÂ treatments, prescription drugs (including hormone therapy), medical co-pays, insurance deductibles, prostheses, wigs, food, gasoline, or car repairs.
- Active treatment is defined as the period after a positive diagnosis of breast cancer has been made (with a diagnostic biopsy), and during which therapies are being administered, including surgical procedures (e.g., single or bi-lateral mastectomy, lumpectomy, axillary dissection, sentinel node biopsy), chemotherapy or radiation. For the purposes of The Pink Fund, active treatment does not include long-term hormonal therapies (including Tamoxifen, Fareston, Arimidex, Aromasin, Femara, Zoladex/Lupron, Megace, and Halotestin).
- Recovery is defined as a timeÂ period determined by your physician and includes a return-to-work date.
Should anÂ applicant qualify, The Pink Fund will make direct payments toÂ the recipientâs creditors. No fundsÂ are directed to the recipients themselves.
Due to Mollyâs vision and hard work, and that of her staff, her board, and the many volunteers who lend a hand, The Pink Fund is now a stopgap for qualified individuals at a time when their energy should be focused on healing â not worrying about past-due bills.
Selected as one of Money Magazineâs five worthy breast cancer organizations in October 2014, reporter Kerri Anne Renzulli suggested The Pink Fund as a great way to give in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month and not get âpinkwashed.â
As with most non-profits, funding is always high on their list of needs. For anyone interested in assistanceâor volunteering, donating (even holding an event to benefit The Pink Fund), you can learn more here: http:/www.thepinkfund.org.
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The Pink Fund