RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There's an organization that makes life a little easier for women undergoing cancer treatment.
Cleaning for a Reason offers to clean their homes for free, to help ease the burden so women can focus on their health and family.
It was a routine mammogram that detected Julie Duke's breast cancer six years ago. Aggressive chemotherapy and radiation worked but took a devastating toll on her body.
"It made me incredibly sick," said Duke. "It kind of, at times, made me want to curl up and die."
Since then, the cancer has metastasized twice. Her treatment will continue.
"Talk about energy, talk about stamina. I don't have it. I just wanted to have a house that felt clean," Duke said.
She contacted Cleaning for a Reason who could match her with a local business to get her home cleaned at no cost, but the program was full.
"I've had family and friends that have gone through cancer treatment and realize how bad it is for them," said Set Cleaning owner Suzanne Hayzlett, who didn't hesitate when she learned of the program. Set Cleaning joined the cause three years ago. Hayzlett's crews clean two homes once a month for four months. When she heard Julie was rejected because of capacity, she made room to accommodate a third. "She was crying on the phone, I was crying on the phone."
"Everything has this nice clean smell and everything's all polished. If I can look around and things are clean, I feel better," said Duke.
"As of yesterday, I'm a survivor and I'm 100-percent cancer free," Renee Cropper said with a smile, but it was a rough year getting to this point. Cropper was given three to six months to live when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She didn't think she'd survive. "I kept it hidden from pretty much everyone. My youngest son was senior. i just didn't want to add the undue stress."
Her son left for the army Monday after graduation, her surgery was few hours after he was gone. Eight months of chemotherapy and weeks of daily radiation followed.
"It was very difficult, as a mom, to not feel well enough to maintain my home," said Cropper.
Five Star Maids was her answer.
"I wanted to do something for the community. It's our way to help them," owner Lorely L'Hommedieu said. That's why Five Star Maids joined Cleaning for a Reason two years ago.
"You cannot put a price on helping other people," L'Hommedieu explained.
"They gave me such normalcy at such a terrible time," recalled Cropper.
There are five local cleaning services that partner with Cleaning for a Reason. The owners and survivors we spoke with are hopeful that more businesses will join this movement so more women can be served.
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