Pink Lemonade Project CEO Susan Stearns knows what it’s like trying to navigate the holidays after breast cancer treatment.
“It’s physically and mentally exhausting,” said Stearns, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018.
After undergoing surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, it took time for Stearns to rebuild her mind, body and sense of self, she said. An hourlong conversation could leave her exhausted and needing a nap.
“The digging out was harder than active chemotherapy for me,” Stearns said. “The mental fatigue that chemotherapy left on me was palpable.”
To provide a little relief for people in breast cancer treatment or in recovery, the nonprofit Pink Lemonade Project is bringing back Holiday Glow for the third year. Holiday Glow raises funds to assist and support breast cancer patients and survivors during the holiday. That might mean a gift card to help with holiday shopping or general cash assistance.
“Anyone who is slogging through breast cancer during COVID has need,” Stearns said. “It remains a priority that we try to help people, especially this year.”
Dr. Allen Gabriel, a Vancouver plastic surgeon, and his office staff have provided a boost to the Holiday Glow funds this year. His office designed socks with the word “boobies” on them and sold them to raise funds for Holiday Glow.
Melissa Mohr, Gabriel’s office manager, said the socks were a “fun, little play on the type of surgeries we do.”
The socks were so popular that selling them raised $7,400. Gabriel’s office then matched the funds, making a $14,800 contribution to Holiday Glow.
Mohr hopes Holiday Glow can make a difference for people.
“It’s not just for holiday gift-giving,” Mohr said. “It’s to get through the holidays with a little less stress in their lives.”
The application deadline for Holiday Glow is 5 p.m. Dec. 9. People can also still donate to the funds for Holiday Glow.
To qualify for assistance, the applicant must be in treatment or recovery and live in Southwest Washington or the Portland metro area.
There are no hard financial requirements to qualify, but Pink Lemonade Project must have the name of your health care provider, their clinic and a phone number to verify treatment. The nonprofit accepts information from physicians, social workers or nurse navigators.
Anyone who received money through Pink Practicalities, another Pink Lemonade Project financial assistance program, earlier this year, still qualifies to apply for Holiday Glow.
“We urge people to send us an application,” Stearns said. “This is something to make the holidays a little more special.”