Free cleaning services provide big help for cancer patients

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CENTERVILLE — Robin Pedersen is going through her second round battling colon cancer.

The Centerville woman was first diagnosed back in 2002. She went through extensive chemotherapy treatments back then. But a tumor returned in 2010, and she’s undergoing treatments again.

By the numbers:
Cleaning for a Reason
- Over $1 million in free cleanings
- A cleaning every 90 minutes
- Over 4000 women help

Marsha Bradford was diagnosed with a form of breast cancer last December. She’s having weekly chemo treatments to reduce the size of a lump so it can be removed.

As cancer patients undergoing regular chemotherapy, Pedersen and Bradford are often fatigued, especially in the days following their treatment. For them, doing even the simplest of things around the house is nearly impossible.

But both women are now getting some help, thanks to a Texas-based organization called Cleaning for a Reason. The organization works with household cleaning companies in all 50 states to provide free cleaning services for female cancer patients who are 18 years and older.

"I'm lucky to just get the dishes done and get a load of laundry going," Bradford said. “And I have to work very slowly and methodically.”

Robin Pedersen said she has similar struggles. "I don't have the strength to do the vacuum or bend over or to have that kind of sustained energy. I would have to ask a family member or a neighbor to do it."

I just like the idea of helping someone else in need who can't do it right now. They're just not in a position to take care of themselves or take care of their cleaning and their every day needs.

–Alisha Casey, Merrie Maids

But Cleaning for a Reason now makes some things a bit easier for the women.

Patients apply on the foundation website and must provide documentation from their doctors as to their condition. Once approved, the foundation contacts the local maid services who set up a cleaning schedule. Each of the local cleaning services agrees to provide a minimum of four complimentary cleanings.

Bradford says being diagnosed with cancer turns your life upside down, so any help is appreciated.

"You feel kind of overwhelmed, and to know that there's something out there that will take part of the burden of just everyday life off of your shoulders so you can concentrate on the cancer and the therapies that go along with it is, it's a godsend,” she said.

Alisha Casey owns a Merry Maids franchise in Salt Lake. She first heard of Cleaning for a Reason about a year ago, and started participating because she says it’s the right thing to do.

“I just like the idea of helping someone else in need who can't do it right now. They're just not in a position to take care of themselves or take care of their cleaning and their every day needs," she said.

Local Participants
- Logan: Spotless of Utah
- Murray: 2 Local Gals Housekeeping
- Ogden: Healthy Homes Housekeeping
- Salt Lake City: Merry Maids of Salt Lake City

Even the employees themselves like the idea. Maria Cuevas, with Healthy Homes Housekeeping of Ogden, cleans Bradford’s home. “I feel so much better. I feel good that I can help the people who have cancer,” Cuevas said.

Bradford and Pedersen are extremely thankful for the help they’ve received.

"It's kind of like Make a Wish,” Pedersen said. “I mean, is there anything a woman would want more than to have her house clean? To just be able to have tha, it's just comforting."

Bradford adds, "I can keep up with the little stuff but the big stuff just gets pushed to the back burner and this is great. And it makes me feel better."

The Cleaning for a Reason foundation says up to 35 new companies are added nationwide each month.


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Keith McCord


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