Cleaning for a Reason

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When Judy Aten was undergoing treatment for cancer earlier this year, she received a small gift that made a big difference – four monthly house cleanings provided free of charge by The Maids in Omaha. Her friend had told her about an organization that matches cancer patients with local cleaning companies called Cleaning for a Reason, and Judy said having the service was a life saver. “It took away so much stress while I was undergoing chemo,” she said. “The cleaning ladies were so nice, respectful, and worked their hearts out for me.”

Founded in 2006 by Debbie Sardone, Cleaning for a Reason is a non-profit organization that has helped more than 15,000 women with cancer receive the gift of cleaning. The organization has 1,100 maid services throughout all 50 states and in Canada, which are paired with cancer patients in their areas. “Women tend to want to do things on their own and don’t often ask for help,” Debbie said. “But this is a simple way to give them some relief during a time when they really need it.”

When a woman is diagnosed with any type of cancer, she simply needs to provide a doctor’s note and her contact information to Cleaning for a Reason. The organization then pairs her with a cleaning company in her area that will schedule four monthly cleanings. With millions of women needing help, the organization encourages as many cleaning services to join as possible. “We would like every professional cleaning service to join the cause,” said Debbie. “We’d like to become a household name.”

The Maids in Omaha joined the cause in 2010, and its two local offices continue to provide free services to cancer patients as often as possible. “We get the chance to help someone who really needs it,” said Ryan Bishop, owner of The Maids. And having had cancer in his own family, he knows how difficult it is to do things such as clean the house when undergoing treatment. “We’re not changing lives, but it helps lighten their day, so it’s more than a win-win.”

Pink Shoe Cleaning Crew in Omaha recently joined the cause, which owner Allison Helligso said has been something she’s wanted to do for years. “Helping women with cancer through cleaning has always been a goal of mine,” she explained. “But I didn’t want to join until I knew I could do it right.” The organization does do background checks on each cleaning service and makes sure the companies are bonded and insured.

To attract more maid services to the organization, Debbie said Cleaning for a Reason has partnered with several major companies to get the word out. Pink Swiffer products are being marketed on Cleaning for a Reason branded pallets in all major Wal-Mart stores as a way to promote awareness.

Ryan with The Maids said he wishes more cleaning companies in Omaha would join. “There’s plenty of need for it, and we’re always open to doing more.” Allison with Pink Shoe Cleaning Crew agrees. “We’re asked to clean for two patients a month, but if they send me more, I’m not going to turn them away,” she said. “By giving back in this small way, we are able to help women with cancer focus on their treatment, healing, and relaxing, and that’s what is most important.”

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