‘Walk at the Detroit Zoo’ Raises Funds for Cancer Patients

By: Michael Fossbakk | April 20, 2018

One of the worst things a patient can receive from their doctor is a diagnosis of cancer. Aside from the obvious turmoil a cancer diagnosis will put someone through, there is a financial burden, too. In addition to the extremely high cost of cancer treatment, cancer patients must also balance those costs with the costs associated with regular, everyday life. Mortgage/rent payments, groceries, utility bills and other common costs of living become an insurmountable hurdle.

This year, 8,000 Michigan women will be diagnosed with breast cancer1 and 40% will have difficulty paying health care costs.1 33% of those women will experience difficulty affording necessary cancer medications2 and around 1,840 of them will cut pills in half or skip doses due to high drug costs.2 2,400 Michigan women will lose their jobs due to their diagnosis3 and more than 800 will be forced to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills.3

Nicole-VanDriessche-Shades-of-Pink

Nicole VanDriessche and her two children, Elle (10) and Jager (7). Photo courtesy of Shades of Pink.

Nicole VanDriessche has experienced this hardship first-hand. After receiving a diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer in August 2016, VanDriessche was given a 20% chance of survival and a life expectancy of three years. Now, she receives daily and weekly treatments, which she will need for the rest of her life, and has undergone several surgeries. All of this has taken a toll on her body and, as a result, she is no longer able to work.

As a mother of two children, VanDriessche depends on weekly child support and a disability stipend. In an effort to ease some of the financial burden, she and her children have moved in with her mother. Unfortunately, her mother’s house required necessary improvements to make it safe for her children, adding more financial burden.

“Nicole’s application for assistance was approved, and we were able to provide a grant to cover rent, car insurance, a cell phone bill and the cost of supplies for the home improvements,” said Shades of Pink Foundation Executive Director Jaye Sciullo.

Shades of Pink Foundation (SOPF) works to help breast cancer patients by providing temporary financial assistance and helping to pay common household bills. This helps the patient focus on their treatment, recovery and well-being.

But, as with all nonprofit organizations, especially ones providing monetary assistance to those in need, fundraising is an important factor. SOPF’s annual fundraising event, Walk at the Zoo, is this Saturday, April 28 at the Detroit Zoo. You can sign up as an individual or a group and proceeds will go directly to SOPF and their fight to lessen the financial burden associated with a cancer diagnosis.

If you’re interested in signing up for the Walk at the Zoo, you can do so on SOPF’s website or the day of the event at 7 a.m., one hour before the opening ceremony. As the name of the foundation suggests, attendees are encouraged to dress from head to toe in pink spirit wear.

1American Cancer Society Cancer Statistics Center. Michigan at a Glance 2016. – http://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/#/state/Michigan

2CostsofCare.org – http://costsofcare.org/the-costs-of-breast-cancer-in-the-u-s/

3BreastCenter.org – http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/unemployment