Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), now through April 6, our staff will be working remotely to ensure the health and safety of our team, as well as our communities.

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Meet Mary Heron-Rzepka: Survivor, marathon runner, fighter and fundraiser

The Pink Fund’s Detroit Free Press - Chemical Bank Marathon Team Ambassador 

Breast cancer is more than a disease, it is a community. During the most challenging, debilitating and frightening time in our journey, there are people we meet who give us hope. Mary Heron-Rzepka is one of those givers of hope.

Mary’s story will inspire you to channel your anxiety into your healing and give back to those who need help.

My breast cancer journey and how I became involved in The Pink Fund: 

Breast cancer has been part of my family for years. My older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of thirty-two. She had a mastectomy and chemotherapy while raising her one-year-old son. Today, 28 years later, she is cancer-free. My mother had breast cancer twice. First she had a lumpectomy, then years later a double mastectomy and radiation. Eventually, the cancer metastasized in her spine and hip, and she died in October of 2008.

With my family history, I knew that I had to be vigilant with my health screenings and mammograms. I had my first mammogram shortly after I stopped nursing my youngest child. I was thirty-six. Over the summer of 2014, I went for another yearly mammogram. This time I thought I felt a small lump. It turned out to be a small cyst and I was told that I also had a few other cysts that would need to be aspirated. The bigger concern was a suspicious area that needed a biopsy. I was in my forties, healthy, and probably the most fit I had ever been. I tried to reassure myself that I WAS FINE...

The dreadful waiting for my results ended when I got the phone call at work. I was taking my 2nd graders to the computer lab when my phone buzzed. It was my doctor telling me how sorry she was, but I had intraductal carcinoma in situ - DCIS. My life became a blur for several weeks. There were several tests, doctor’s appointments, lab work and research. Given my family history and the information that I gathered, my decision was to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. My lab results post-surgery were good. NO FURTHER TREATMENT was needed!

Recovery was not easy, but I knew that I while I was off of work, my salary and benefits would stay the same. That took a huge worry off of my mind. While recovering, I obviously was not able to run. Running was something that I had only started about three years prior to my diagnosis. Not being able to run made me realize how much running now meant to me. I set a goal for myself to not only get back to running as soon as I had clearance from my doctor, but to train for a marathon. My running friends signed up for the Detroit Free Press marathon with me. The training was challenging, inspirational and frustrating all at the same time.

While signing up for that first Detroit Marathon, I came across several organizations that had multiple teams raising money for them. I immediately noticed The Pink Fund! I clicked on the area pledging that I would raise money to help other women with the financial burden they incurred while fighting breast cancer.

This will be my 4th year that I have chosen to run to support The Pink Fund. I am honored that Molly MacDonald has asked me to be an ambassador for the 2018 race. I look forward to helping bring awareness to the mission that Molly has created with this important organization.

Runners interested in joining The Pink Fund Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank marathon team should contact maryheronrz@gmail.com or deborah@thepinkfund.org.

Marathon incentive packages for our Pink Fund runners:

Silver Level: fundraising commitment of $250.00

  • Exclusive Pink Fund water bottle
  • One of a kind Pink Fund sunglasses
  • Ford Warriors in Pink bandana

Gold Level: fundraising commitment of $500.00

  • all the goodies from above, plus a Pink Fund specially designed running singlet.

Donate to The Pink Fund’s marathon team: http://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/pinkfunddet2018

The Financial Side Effects of Cancer

Financial Toxicity

130% increase in financial difficulties for patients in active treatment

Job Loss

Between 20-30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer will lose their jobs

Bankruptcy

10M will be unable to pay for rent, food & utilities because of medical bills

Impact on Savings

76% of full time workers nationwide live paycheck to paycheck

Get Real Help

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If you or a family member is undergoing treatment for breast cancer and have lost all or a part of income during active treatment, learn more about how The Pink Fund can help.

Apply Now

Give Real Help

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We rely on the generosity of people like you. Donate online and help breast cancer patients in treatment pay their bills so they can concentrate on what is most important... healing.

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Dear Pink Fund Community,

As we continue to monitor the evolving situation related to COVID-19 (coronavirus), our top priority remains the health and safety of our staff and constituents. While this is a challenging time, we are committed to working together to support the breast cancer patients who qualify for assistance. I want to share a few updates with you on how The Pink Fund is addressing and adjusting to the situation. Most importantly, please know that we understand that the uncertainty and unprecedented nature of these times can be tough on all of us, and we are here to support you, your families and the breast cancer community.

  • Now through April 6, our staff will be working remotely to ensure the health and safety of our team, as well as our communities. It will be business as usual for The Pink Fund, with possible delays. So, please be patient with our staff. We'll continue to monitor the situation in real-time to determine when circumstances change. We are so grateful for the flexibility and dedication of our employees, who have already shown their commitment to this temporary model, and to ensuring no disruptions to our mission during this time. Thank you for your patience as we work through any adjustments in our process to ensure the most timely responses possible in these circumstances and to ensure our mission of #RealHelpNow is delivered.
  • Despite these changes, we remain intently focused on the needs of our community. Every day, our staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make an impact for breast cancer patients needing financial assistance. We will remain dedicated and focused in remaining a trusted source of support and hope for those we serve. Continuing our work to fund and fulfill our mission is crucial.

Thank you for understanding as the situation evolves rapidly.

As always, we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to our team at info@thepinkfund.org for questions. For information specific to the coronavirus and the most up-to-date information on the situation, please visit CDC.gov.

With gratitude for your ongoing support,

 

Molly MacDonald