For many women, finding out the devastating news that they have been diagnosed with breast cancer is enough to turn their lives upside down.
In the midst of working to rid themselves of this deadly disease and return to normal health, many women lose their jobs, their homes and watch as the bills begin to pile up. This sudden horror can leave many feeling scared, lost and alone.
That’s where the Shades of Pink Foundation comes in.
Shades of Pink exists to make sure that no woman should ever have to struggle through, what is more than likely, the most difficult time of their life, without any help. Created seven years ago, the Southeast Michigan Foundation was formed by a breast cancer surgeon, breast cancer patient and her friend, as a resource to help women experiencing financial turmoil, as a result of their diagnosis.
“This breast cancer patient was experiencing some financial hardships and had no resources other than family and friends,” said Karen Bourlier, President of Shades of Pink. “When things got better, these women got together and started talking about starting a foundation so women could get some financial assistance; it is an all-volunteer foundation so we can make as many dollars as possible to go to our clients.”
Today, the Foundation has grown to over 200 volunteers and serves women across Macomb and Oakland Counties. Hospital social workers, helping those receiving breast cancer treatments, can referr patients to Shades of Pink.
“Breast cancer doesn't discriminate by age, race, or socio-economic status,” explains Dr. Laura Nadeau, Shades of Pink board member. “As a physician treating women with breast cancer, it's tragic to see some women have to choose between treatment or loss of a job, a car, a home. Shades of Pink is here to help take all of those worries away.”
Every April, the Foundation hosts their largest fundraiser, a walk-a-thon at the Detroit Zoo, that brings breast cancer survivors together for a day of fun and mingling with family and friends. This year’s Walk at the Zoo will take place April 28. Additionally, a luncheon is planned for later in the summer.
“It kind of makes your heart skip a beat and eyes swell up with happy tears,” adds Bourlier, of the Foundation. “It makes me so grateful for what I have – it inspires me to give the time that I have; they are so grateful for the little support we can give them.”
To find out more about Shades of Pink or to make a donation and get involved, visit its website at www.shadesofpinkfoundation.org.