Every day on the First Coast four women are told the news that shatters their lives. They have breast cancer. I know as a mother, my first thought beyond total fear was... dear God, please let me be here to see my babies grow up. Fortunately for me, I have a well paying job, understanding bosses, good insurance, and a support system second to none. Many thousands of women don't have that. In fact, they don't have time to worry about whether they will be here to watch their children grow up because they are worrying so much about whether they have enough money to keep a roof over their heads.
Cancer itself is so stressful, financial stress on top of that is just that last straw that pushes many women into despair. Whatever time any of us has, it should be spent caring for each other.
So, toward that end, with the help of many people, I launched The Donna Foundation. The Foundation raises money to be used exclusively for First Coast women living with breast cancer... who, for whatever reason, can't make ends meet. We have partnered with Catholic Charities, the largest social service agency in the area. They lovingly screen each recipient to ensure we are good stewards of your donations, then The Donna Foundation makes the checks payable to the mortgage company, the utilities carrier, the doctors office etc. Here is a testimonial from one of our recipients:
"I am a cancer patient with 3 young children. I needed chemo and radiation to battle the reoccurance. During treatment my husband's employment was terminated. Without financial relief my family would not make it. The Donna Foundation helped us by paying our mortgages, preschool and medical bills for a month. What this gave us was time, the most precious gift of all. Our family is so grateful to this much needed charity. Sincerely, Christine, Todd, Owen, Reed and Cara"
For any of you who have ever had a serious illness, you know that even good insurance doesn't cover everything. Costs associated with long term care are immense, not to mention the fact that mortgages and car payments are still there even if the money is not. The need is great, but so is the heart of this community. I ask for your prayers now more than ever, that we can make this a lifeline for the women who need us.
Board of Directors:
Donna H. Deegan, Founder/President
Maryedda Day, Treasurer
Phyllis Staines, Secretary/Trustee
Cynthia Montello, Trustee
Edith A. Perez, M.D. Trustee
Rebecca Glasser, M.D. Trustee
Andrea Cole, Trustee
Susan Mehrlust, Trustee (6/03 - 12/29/06)