With countless breast cancer diagnoses made each year, far too many lives are being affected by this unforgiving disease. What is truly amazing, though, is the strength that so many women possess in order to continue moving forward with their everyday lives during treatment.
This is where we are reminded that a little help goes a long way.
The Shades of Pink Foundation, a Metro Detroit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2005, takes a different, more immediate approach to managing this daunting disease. Dr. Pamela Benitez and Suzanne Krueger understood that while life must go on post-diagnosis, the treatment of cancer is costly. Unfortunately, this leaves many women struggling financially with monthly expenses such as mortgage and car payments. With these obstacles in mind, Dr. Benitez and Suzanne wanted to find a way to help.
“A patient asked me if I knew of any organizations or foundations that offered financial assistance to women who were having financial difficulties during their breast cancer treatment. She also asked her friend, Suzanne Krueger, the same question,” said Dr. Benitez. “Neither of us knew of anything, so the three of us met at a small restaurant in Ferndale and brainstormed how we could create a foundation to do just that.”
And with that, Shades of Pink was created. Since it’s beginning, the organization has impacted the lives of over 500 women. In 2012 alone, they were able to offer over $180,000 in financial assistance.
The foundation is run solely by volunteers who are passionate about helping those struggling through breast cancer. Whether having battled cancer themselves, watched a friend or family member get diagnosed, or simply felt the urge to give back, each volunteer of Shades of Pink has a personal reason for joining this wonderful cause.
“As a breast cancer survivor myself, I became involved as a way of giving back to the community. I loved the idea that the foundation was local and was giving immediate relief to those in need,” said Joan Redebaugh, a member of the board.
For Dr. Benitez, she saw her dream become a reality through the hard work and dedication of the women volunteering. From day one of the foundation’s inception, each member jumped in whole-heartedly to help make Shades of Pink what it is today. The focus of the foundation is to take away added financial stress on those women who are diagnosed so they can better concentrate on their treatment plans.
“I was lucky enough to have family and friends to help me through, and didn’t have to worry about the financial side of it. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have that added stress,” said Redebaugh. “The most rewarding aspect of being involved with Shades of Pink is hearing the stories of how we’ve helped these women, how grateful they are and how we’ve made a tough time easier for them.”
What is not only interesting, but proof that the foundation’s mission is truly appreciated by those that have been helped, is that not one client of Shades of Pink has ever requested additional assistance. Dr. Benitez explained that these women simply need help getting over the hill at a very rough time in their lives.
If you’re interested in getting involved with this incredible organization, the 7th ANNUAL SHADES OF PINK: A WALK AT THE ZOO will take place on Saturday, April 27th and they are always happy to welcome new volunteers.
Check back soon for complete details on the 2013 Walk at the Zoo.