Cleaning for a Cause

Admit it, you hate to clean but love a clean house. You feel much more at ease in a clean home and ready to take on whatever challenges the day brings.

What if that challenge was cancer? What if, as you fought the hardest battle of your life, the day to day responsibilities like dishes and dust piled up around you like a heavy weight on your shoulders?

For an increasing number of cancer patients, this is a reality. More than 3,000 people are being helped by the non-profit Cleaning For a Reason.

The organization began in 2007 after founder, Debbie Sardone, who owns a maid service in Texas, got a call from a cancer patient who was inquiring about cleaning rates. Upon hearing the information, the caller remarked that she was in treatment and could not afford the service. Unfortunately, she hung up before Sardone could look into other options.

From that point on, Sardone began a policy that her maid service would attempt to clean homes for free, or at a discount for those undergoing cancer treatment. Sardone spread this idea at a cleaning service convention and Cleaning For a Reason
was born.

“The backbone of our foundation are the maid services that participate,” says Executive Director Mike Farney.

The organization relies on regular, local janitorial services to clean one cancer patient’s home once a month, for four months. They then match these services with patients who are currently undergoing treatment.

The number of people in need of cleaning services is heartbreaking. Mary’s Maid Service is currently the only service that donates cleanings to the organization in the area. “We feel we’re helping somebody that desperately needs it,” says Laura Elledge of Mary’s Maid Service.

While their commitment to Cleaning For a Reason is two patients at a time, they are currently cleaning for three. Two of those are Edmond residents.

“This is actually a labor intensive organization. It’s a way to give back and that’s the way our partners feel also,” said Farney. “When you go into a cancer patient’s home and you clean it for free, they’re absolutely ecstatic that somebody would give back in this way and help them in a time when they need the help.”

“Probably the biggest complaint you hear from patients who are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, is fatigue,” says T.J. Crosson, a nurse in Oncology at Mercy Hospital.

A young mother herself, Crosson understands the day-to-day struggles of being a parent and can’t imagine the strain of doing it while sick. “Balancing work life and home life is challenging enough. To be undergoing treatment would be really hard, especially when you don’t feel well. When you do feel well and get your energy back, the last thing you want to do is spend all of that time and energy cleaning,” she said.

Due to a cancer patients white blood cell count being low, they are more susceptible to infection. “To be cleaning a dirty bathroom, where there are so many bacteria, it could potentially be unsafe,” she said.

To apply, patients need to go through Cleaning For a Reason’s website for more information. Mary’s Maid Service is currently at full capacity, but Cleaning For a Reason is seeking more local businesses willing to join the cause. Patients may also be able to find helpful services through their hospital’s cancer resource center, such as the one at Mercy Hospital.

Cleaning For a Reason is still a small organization seeking to grow in the Edmond area. “The demand will always exceed our capability,” says Farney. “Our number one requirement is recruitment of maid services.”

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