Long Island Breast Cancer Charity Helps Women With Everyday Expenses

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When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, there are the obvious issues such as medical expenses and treatment, but there are also more subtle difficulties such as being able to support a family, get food on the table, and pay bills while not being able to work.

Pink Aid is an organization that works to help women that are diagnosed with breast cancer in these overlooked areas. The Mitchell family founded the Connecticut chapter of Pink Aid eight years ago and the Long Island chapter five years ago.

“We were hearing stories of women who were already in treatment and had their finances completely depleted, unable to pay bills, having to decide between a ride to treatment and keeping food on the table,” said Ali Mitchell, the co-president of the Long Island chapter. “We knew we wanted to do something to help.”

Pink Aid’s mission is to empower women with breast cancer and support them through treatment with dignity. The charity is a grant-based organization, which means once a year they go through the applications that have been submitted by other charities around Long Island, decide which ones best align with their mission, and fund those charities the following year. These charities then help women with breast cancer with their non-medical expenses like grocery bills and wigs.

“Through an unbelievable groundswell of support, we now have put one million dollars back into the community through our efforts across Long Island, east end to west end, to help women in critical need,” Mitchell said.

Pink Aid has recently added the Pink Purse fund to their organization. Pink Aid’s Pink Purse is a branch of the organization that provides direct emergency assistance to women who need help with non-medical expenses. Awards go out once a month and women can directly apply for assistance and be granted money to help cover household expenses on short notice. “We’ve been wanting to be able to help women directly for a long time, we’re very excited about this,” Mitchell said.

The requirements for women to be provided with assistance from Pink Aid or the organizations that they fund are that they are uninsured or underinsured, in financial need and currently in treatment for breast cancer.

A smaller, but still important part of Pink Aid is that they also help women who don’t have insurance coverage for routine mammograms by funding programs in hospitals that provide free screenings.

Pink Aid has an annual fashion show and luncheon every year to raise money to supply the funds for the grants and the Pink Purse. A top designer donates pieces to show at Mitchells of Huntington. This year’s event will be held Oct. 17.

The luncheon consists of multiple events, including a fashion show with professional models, auctions and speakers. Everyone’s favorite part of the event is the Celebration of Life Fashion Show. Twelve breast cancer survivors get styled by Mitchells and the Anthony DeFranco Salon, and walk the runway with someone who was important to them during their treatment.

“When that runway starts and everyone gets out of their seats, the feeling of love and support never loses its special spark,” Mitchell said.

Pink Aid is a volunteer-based organization, with only one paid employee between the Connecticut and Long Island chapters. “We are able to deliver so much funding into the community and yet we are still a grassroots, mostly volunteer organization five years in, I am really proud of that,” Mitchell said.

For more information about Pink Aid and their mission, to buy tickets to this year’s luncheon, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.pinkaid.org.

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