Where to Find Financial Assistance

NOTE:  Pink Fund Guest Blogger Amy Rauch Neilson was qualified for assistance through The Pink Fund’s “blind” process at a meeting of the qualification’s committee.  Patients in active treatment for breast cancer may seek assistance by visiting, http://www.thepinkfund.org and downloading an application.

Pink Fund guest bloggers are not compensated in any way for their guest blogs, nor are the blogs necessarily a reflection of The Pink Fund’s policies, opinions or recommendations or those of its Board of Director, volunteers, donors or recipients.

All guest blog content is a reflection of the writer’s personal experience.

There simply isn’t a lot of time or energy left when you’re going through breast cancer treatments for much more than the chemotherapy and recovery, even if you love what you do and want to work. Both due to the time I spend at the hospital (three days a week during my chemo weeks) and the recovery period my body requires after treatments, I am only able to put in about 10 hours of work on a good week. That’s down from at least 30 before my diagnosis.  And so, I have learned an awful lot in the three months about not just how to ask for help, but where to find it.

Enter The Pink Fund. Shortly after my diagnosis, one of my close friends contacted The Pink Fund Founder Molly MacDonald and told her my story. At first, I was reluctant to even consider accepting financial assistance. But it didn’t take long for me to realize how much I really needed it. So, I decided to apply.

Going through the testing that leads up to a cancer diagnosis, followed by an ongoing course of treatment, drains your energy and takes a lot of time out of what used to be your  “normal” workweek. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer on January 12, 2011. I was at the hospital 16 of the next 19 days, either undergoing tests or meeting with doctors.

So, I gratefully and graciously accepted financial assistance from The Pink Fund. They offered to pay two of our monthly utility bills. And it made a huge difference in our budget. I worried a lot less about our monthly finances and was able to focus a lot more energy on starting my treatment protocol.

The Pink Fund, like many foundations, is designed to help cancer patients over a designated period of time. For The Pink Fund, that period is 90 days.

So, a few weeks before that 90-day window closed, I spoke with Molly again. She guided me to the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation in Midland, Mich. And though I don’t qualify for assistance – you must live in one of six counties surrounding Midland in order to be considered – the woman who answered the phone was able to point me in a new direction. Not only that, she researched a few leads for me and called me back.

One thing led to another and door after door began to open. In a little more than a week, I was approved for a grant from the HealthWell Foundation to cover my portion of our monthly healthcare insurance premium, which we pay out-of-pocket.

Then, I was directed to CancerCare, which offers a long list of financial assistance possibilities as well as tips for locating additional assistance. One arm of this foundation is designed specifically for people diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, like me. I was awarded $150 for transportation. With gas prices skyrocketing and my three times a week, 80-mile round-trip journey to the hospital, that helps. A lot.

Another great place to look for assistance is through foundations that are set up to help people in specific fields. Right now, I am waiting to hear back on an application I submitted to the Writers Emergency Assistance Fund, which is designed to help people like me who make their living as free-lance writers.

There are so many financial assistance opportunities out there for breast cancer patients that I know I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. As I uncover others, I’ll be sharing them with you.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson

Leave a comment


  1. Claire

     /  April 19, 2011

    I had no idea that there was all this info out there. Great to share and I hope you qualify for more help to ease some of the strain. Blessings to you!

  1. Where to Find Financial Assistance « It's in the Genes

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