Breast Cancer Solutions has been providing patients in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties with direct financial assistance, removing barriers to breast cancer treatment for 24 years. The organization primarily provides support for living expenses including basic needs, housing costs, and gasoline.
The organization has assisted almost 4,900 clients. Every client has different needs and Breast Cancer Solutions works with each client one-on-one to provide resources or connect them to resources that will give them the most support. Working with partner agencies the organization also helps clients with applications and navigating the process to obtain support.
Often, the support that makes the difference between whether a client can start and continue breast cancer treatment seems small, but is out of reach for clients according to Jennifer Anderson, the organization’s Executive Director. One of the organization’s clients, Yvonne, was a bus driver who had to stop working during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was on a fixed income, applied for social security, but was falling short.
In order to begin chemotherapy, Yvonne had to pay $600 up front to the doctor. She had Medicare but wasn’t completely covered. Breast Cancer Solutions was able to provide those funds and also provide gas to get her to her appointment. Yvonne was able to complete chemotherapy, have two surgeries and get hormone treatment. Now she is 70 years old and has no evidence of cancer.
Breast Cancer Solutions also continues to be a support system for clients who are no longer in treatment. When Yvonne was not able to go back to work a year later, the organization was able to assist her in finding another resource to get her financial support.
“Being able to walk alongside them during their journey, seeing the difference it makes and knowing the impact of what we do is so powerful,” Anderson said. “If we can step in an eliminate even one small part of their stress, I feel like we are doing our job.”
Stress can have a significant impact on the success of treatment, Anderson said. Sometimes, alleviating a stressful situation requires helping with unusual needs. One of the organization’s clients lived in Lake Arrowhead with her children and was getting treatment during the winter. They relied on a burning wood to heat the house but were out of fuel and funds to buy it. Breast Cancer Solutions was able to purchase a cord of wood for them so that their client and her family could stay warm.
Breast Cancer Solutions can only provide clients with support through the funds they have available and depend on grants and donations. Recently, the organization received a Community Impact Grant through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The organization strives to ensure that access to treatment is equitable, and this grant will support clients who would not otherwise have the means and access to resources.
The organization has a small staff of four and depends on 30-35 volunteers to provide services. Breast Cancer Solutions always welcomes new volunteers and donations. Individuals wishing to support their work can also attend their Annual Fundraiser Vino, Amore, Festa at Strawberry Farms Big Red Barn in Irvine on October 13, 2022.
Anderson encourages community members to follow the organization on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about what they do. Those interested can also subscribe to their newsletter on their website.
“Don’t put off your breast healthcare,” Anderson said. “Go get your screening or reach out to us if you need a resource to get those services. We are here for you.”
More information: https://breastcancersolutions.org/ or 866.960.9222
This article originally appeared in the Press Enterprise, July 2022.
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