When a family member or a friend has cancer, it’s only natural to feel the need to help. That’s why maid service owner
and business consultant Debbie Sardone, whose
mother survived ovarian cancer, maintains a long-standing company policy to clean the homes of
women with cancer at no cost.
HOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER
Consider these suggestions for supporting a
friend with cancer.
Make sure your help is welcome. Get
permission before visiting, asking questions
or giving advice. Be clear that it’s fine if the
answer is no.
Be specific. Many people have a hard time
asking for and accepting help. Specific offers
like “Can I bring over lasagna on Friday?” can
make it easy to say yes.
Follow through. If you promise to bring
food over or visit, do it. It’s important that
you strive to meet any commitment that
GIVING WOMEN WITH CANCER
A TIDY GIFT
Do you know an extraordinary
person who’s giving his or her
time to the cancer cause?
Email Volunteer@Cancer TodayMag.org.
We may feature the person in a future issue.
PHO TO COUR TES Y OF DEBBIE SARDONE
As it turns out, Sardone wasn’t the
only one eager to lend a helping hand.
“I shared what I was doing with other
cleaning companies [at a national
convention], and they said, ‘We want
to do this too,’” Sardone says. She was
inspired to take the idea nationwide,
creating Cleaning for a Reason, a non-
profit organization that connects women
diagnosed with any type of cancer with
local companies that will clean their
home for free. “We’re the matchmaker,”
explains Sardone. “We match the patient
with the maid service. And we support
the local maid service … with brochures
and materials about our program.”
Over 1,200 companies now participate
in the initiative, which operates in almost
all 50 states and four Canadian provinces.
“In the 12 years [since the nonprofit was
founded], … we’ve served over 28,000
women with cancer, [with] about $8 million
worth of donated services,” Sardone says.
Women or their family members can
apply via cleaningforareason.org. If
there is a participating cleaning company
in the area, all that’s needed is a doctor’s
note confirming cancer treatment to
receive one free housecleaning per month
for two consecutive months.
Sardone wants to get the word out
to both cancer patients who need help
and cleaning companies that want to
join the organization. “Those who have
had the cleaning have said they had no
idea how walking into a clean house
would make them feel,” says Sardone.
“It was the most normal they had felt
in months. They felt that they had
regained some of the control in their
life that had been lost because of this
illness.” —BRENDA CONAWAY
The following websites host online forums with calendars. Members can share
news and updates, post requests for help, offer emotional support to others
and coordinate tasks like meals, travel and visits.