There have been a number of blog posts this month about Cleaning For A Reason, a non-profit organization that sets up free housecleaning for women undergoing treatment for cancer. Despite its exclusion of men, this is a phenomenal service that is desperately needed.
How it works: The application process opens at 12noon Central Time, Monday through Thursday, and they accept a maximum of 50 applications each day. However, the demand is such that they accept approximately 8 applications a minute once it’s activated. Therefore, the application process is open for approximately 6 minutes.
Everyone agrees: this is needed. Cancer patients love it, families benefit. A clean, organized space is something you deserve to come home to after a day in chemotherapy. It’s good for your health, it’s great for your family, and it’s a load off the mind. But if more than 50 people need this help per day – as indicated by the six-minute time window you have to sign up – then we should be doing all we can to get more cleaning services to donate their time. Instead of helping less patients, let’s rally more support.
Find your state. See who partners with this program. It could be as easy as calling the cleaning services not on the list and explaining how they can help. The main requirements are being licensed or bonded, and doing background checks on employees and volunteers.
From different perspectives, there are different solutions. If you don’t want to rally the cleaning troops, you can offer to clean someone’s house as a more personal donation – or pair up with a friend and tackle it together. Either way, you’re meeting the need of a cancer patient who truly needs, wants, and appreciates it.
Don’t have time for cleaning, but still want to help? Check out ChemoAngels.net. There are different levels of commitment – Chemo Angel, Card Angel, Support Angel. There is an application process and you must be approved, which usually takes two weeks to a month. You’re matched with someone starting IV chemotherapy, and send them weekly things – gifts, cards, flowers, you name it – to delight or distract them. As a Card Angel, I send my patient 1-2 cards per week knowing it’s a one-way street. I print out funny cartoons, send doodles, share my (positive) experiences, and cheer her on in every way I can. It takes very little time to make someone’s day.
From the Navigating Cancer website also comes a logistical way to help those with cancer. If you’re a patient, you can invite friends and family to view your calendar – or everyone on the site! – which includes your immediate needs. If you need a ride to an appointment, you can post that on your calendar, which notifies your supporters. If you need help cleaning house, or a birthday cake for your youngest, or maybe childcare for a hospital stay – those needs can be posted and filled by your support team. Asking for and receiving help should be this easy.
There are so many ways to support people going through chemo or living with cancer, and this is just a few. Find the one that works for you. The impact you have will change people’s lives… or at least make their lives more manageable.