Shelley is 41, divorced, and has brought up her two sons alone for many years. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, along with all the physical and emotional stresses, her financial position became untenable. She was unable to work during treatment and she was shocked to discover all the extra costs of her illness that were not covered elsewhere. They added an enormous amount of stress to an already traumatic situation…but a grant from The Lemonade Fund made a big difference.
WHY CHOOSE THE LEMONADE FUND?
Breast cancer brings with it many significant non-medical expenses such as extra childcare; transportation to doctors’ appointments; hospital parking; costly special clothing such as wigs; prostheses; and additional household help. Often the patient is unable to work and their spouse/partner also takes significant time off to support the family.
Shari Mendes, founder of The Lemonade Fund, discovered this for herself when aged 49 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was lucky to have a great network of friends and a husband who was able to support her family whilst she wasn’t working. But she met so many women in hospital who found the extra financial burden too much to bear. And she promised that once she returned to good health, she would make sure other women didn’t have to suffer in the same way. And so, on the first anniversary of her diagnosis, she set up ‘The Lemonade Fund’.
The Lemonade Fund works with social workers and staff at local hospitals and breast centres to identify and screen applicants based on demonstrated financial need. Once an applicant has passed through the screening process, a grant is awarded immediately in order to alleviate her financial stress. An average grant is £500 and the difference it can make is huge. Statistics show that a catastrophic illness can catapult a solvent family into bankruptcy in as little as six months, and with so many of the women supported by The Lemonade Fund being single mothers, their lost income has a devastating effect. The grants they receive mean they can feel calmer about their financial situation and focus entirely on getting well.