Limerick >> For women fighting a battle against cancer, everyday tasks can be difficult.
That’s where Cleaning for a Reason can help.
Cleaning for a Reason is a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit that arranges free house cleaning services for women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer.
Patients who participate in the program receive one house cleaning from a participating local cleaner per month, for four months. The services of Cleaning for a Reason are available to women in Montgomery, Chester, Berks and Delaware counties.
It’s an organization Kathleen Albertson has been involved with for several years — an organization Albertson is passionate about.
“Everyone has someone in their life that has been touched by cancer — their mother, sister, a friend,” she said.
Albertson, of Limerick, was active with area non-profit organizations before becoming affiliated with Cleaning for a Reason in 2010, when she was working for Delaware County janitorial services firm Professional Building Services.
While no longer employed by the company, Albertson’s commitment to Cleaning for a Reason remains strong. A survivor of domestic abuse when she was younger, Albertson is committed to women’s issues.
“As I got better, I swore I would never not help someone in need,” she said.
She’s a member of the Go Red for Women passion committee, works with the Women’s Center of Montgomery County as well as Helen’s Angels. The non-profit provides financial and other assistance to individuals and their families impacted by breast cancer.
Albertson has become the local face of Cleaning for a Reason. Working independently, she organizes fundraisers and sets up information tables at a variety of local events — to spread the word to those who can help and those who need the help.
Karen Hegedus of Limerick is one of the women that have used the services of Cleaning for a Reason. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and used the service while she was undergoing chemotherapy.
“It’s a great organization and helps out a lot of women. When you go through chemo, the last thing you want to do is clean your house. They took one daily burden off my list,” she said about her experience.
Hegedus said she knew Albertson — they attended the same church and their kids were in school together. But she wasn’t aware of Cleaning for a Reason or the work Albertson did to promote the organization.
Albertson reached out.
“When you get diagnosed there is so much you can’t do. It’s hard to get up and get ready for work, take care of a family — I have two kids and a husband. It took a lot for me to ask for help,” Hegedus said.
Hegedus said her cancer was in remission for about two-years, but has returned, and she has been diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
When Hegedus found out in March that the cancer had spread to her liver, she was able to arrange through Albertson, a one-time deep cleaning of her house through Cleaning for a Reason.
“I had been sick and had an infection. They came in to do the cleaning before I came home from the hospital,” she added.
Albertson meets patients at events and by word of mouth. Her efforts are supported she said, by her current employer — Allan Industries, a janitorial services provider.
Hegedus said she would encourage women who have been diagnosed with cancer to reach out.
“It’s hard for women to ask for help — we’re always the caregivers. It’s really hard to sit back and ask. I would encourage them to ask for help — to look for organizations. There are a lot of organizations out there looking to help. Cleaning for a Reason takes one of the daily things and makes it easier for you,” she said.
Albertson said those looking to access the services provided by Cleaning for a Reason can sign up at cleaningforareason.org. After completing the application and submitting a note from their doctor confirming they are in treatment, patients will be matched with a cleaning service.
She explained that the maid service companies agree to take on two patients per month, providing one cleaning service each month for four consecutive months.
Since Cleaning for a Reason was formed in 2006, more than 1,200 maid services companies have been recruited, according to the organization’s website. In addition, 25,000 women have been helped, at an estimated value of $6.5 million.
Cancer patients looking to access services or maid service companies can email Albertson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting cleaningforareason.org .