health & fitness
Positive Shade Of Pink
Cancer survivor fights back thanks to support fund.
Special to the Jewish News
"We are a small nonprofit organization:'
said MacDonald. "Our first year, 2007,
t. the Pink Fund raised $4,500. In 2010, we
raised $73,000 and assisted 24 women
with bill payments totaling $41,514. We
also advocated for clients with insur-
ance companies and unfair treatment by
employers. I'm hoping we can raise at least
$150,000 from our October luncheon with
o one plans for cancer,
says Cheryl Gumenick of
Birmingham, a divorced single
mother with two children, Haley and Ross.
Gumenick closed her home daycare busi-
ness in April 2009 because of the reces-
sion and found a job. In September, she
learned she had breast cancer and under-
went a right breast lumpectomy.
Ten months later, in July 2010,
Gumenick was diagnosed with invasive
lobular carcinoma with lymph node
involvement in her left breast. She under-
went a left radical with lymph node
removal and a right simple mastectomy.
Gumenick was unable to work after her
surgery and during her cancer treatments.
"I first learned about the Pink Fund
when I stopped by their booth at the
Birmingham Farmers Market and bought
a pink hat," recalls Gumenick.
"When diagnosed with my second
cancer, a good friend told me about this
wonderful woman, Molly MacDonald, and
the Pink Fund, and that she may be able to
help me with finances.
"I had lost my house, found a place to
rent in the same school district, but the
bills were piling up. I called Molly and
applied for funds. The Pink Fund helped
pay several bills and I was able to provide
some normalcy for the kids — and for
that I am forever grateful!"
Cancer can be a major economic burden
for patients and their families. Some
have health insurance plans that pay
for a portion of their medical expenses,
including treatment. For patients who
don't have health insurance or who need
financial assistance, there are resources
available, including Jewish Family Service
of Metropolitan Detroit, services sup-
ported by voluntary organizations and
government-sponsored programs. For
example, Medicaid provides health insur-
ance for low-income individuals and
families who meet its requirements; those
with advanced cancer are sometimes
considered disabled by Social Security's
One problem is the time it usually
takes to get results from government and
other funding program applications. The
Pink Fund closes the gap with short-term
financial aid through direct bill payment
for those who lost all or part of their
income because of surgery and cancer
50 September 15 • 2011
Cheryl Gumenick and Molly MacDonald have built their friendship over the past year.
treatment. This may include coverage for
rent, utilities, insurance policies and auto-
To increase the number of people who
receive aid, the Pink Fund is sponsoring
"The Crazy Sexy Pink Fund Luncheon" on
Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Royal Park Hotel in
Rochester. Kris Carr, author-celebrity and
cancer thriver, will speak at the event.
Dr. Jen Green, NP, Naturopathic Doctor,
of West Bloomfield, a practitioner at the
integrative medicine program at Royal
Oak-based Beaumont Hospitals, is co-
chair of the event.
"I specialize in breast cancer in my
practice," says Green, "and frequently
watch women have treatment, get into
financial trouble because they lost their
jobs and can't pay their bills, and then face
the additional financial burden of pay-
ing for their treatment, which can be very
costly when not covered by insurance.
"I became active when I realized that
this program makes a positive difference
for women who are doing their best to
deal with a disease that no one expected."
Carr- Full "
Bestselling New York Times author of the
Crazy Sexy Cancer books and self-acclaimed
wellness warrior, Carr is the headliner at the
luncheon. She will describe how she trans-
formed her health and life through diet,
exercise and mindful mediation.
Carr was diagnosed in 2003 and found
fame with her 2007 video documentary,
called Crazy Sexy Cancer. The New York
Times Magazine profiled her on Aug. 14.
Her first two books, Crazy Sexy Cancer
Tips and Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor, relat-
ed her peppy, pop spiritual approach to
her disease — and she became a celebrity.
Her third book, Crazy Sexy Diet, published
in January, became a New York Times best-
seller, elevating her from cancer expert to
total wellness guru.
A yoga class for 100 participants pre-
cedes the luncheon. Jonny Kest of The
Center for Yoga in West Bloomfield will
lead the class. Tickets are $75 for the lun-
cheon and $100 for the lunch plus yoga
class. They are available at www.thepink-
fund.org . Kris Carr, 39, will sign her books.
Stacy Goldberg, a nutritionist and regis-
tered nurse from West Bloomfield, also
co-chairs the event. Consultant for Whole
Foods and founder/owner of What's In
Your Cart, Goldberg educates women and
their families about the need for good
nutrition during cancer treatment.
"Eating the right combination of foods
and consuming nutrient dense foods
can boost a patient's immunity': explains
Goldberg, who helps families plan menus
that provide the nutritional needs of a
family member undergoing cancer treat-
ment. "Good nutrition helps bridge the gap
from diagnosis and care in the hospital to
your own dinner table!'
Molly MacDonald of Beverly Hills
founded the Pink Fund following her
experience with breast cancer in 2005,
losing her job and finding no resources to
help her and her five children.
How To Apply
To receive funds, requirements include
proof of interrupted income, copies of
bills that require payment and other sup-
porting documents. After a processor
gives completed applications a number for
anonymity, grants committee members
determine if applicants qualify for avail-
able funds. Selected bills are paid under
Pink Fund guidelines for a specified time.
Money is paid directly to creditors and not
to recipients — which keeps administra-
tive costs down.
"If we have the funds, we try to sup-
port clients for three months, giving them
time to return to work or to get on Social
Security disability:' says MacDonald.
"Sometimes, we only have enough money
to help for 30 days, but we're always help-
ing clients find other resources to fill in
The Risk Numbers
Research scientists have determined
that Ashkenazi Jewish women have an
increased genetic susceptibility to breast
cancer. Genetic counseling and testing
can help determine if a Jewish woman
carries alterations in two genes identified
as BRCA1 and BRAC2, which makes her
more susceptible to developing breast and
"Recent studies suggest that a wom-
an's risk of developing breast cancer
approaches 65 to 85 percent if she inherits
an altered BRCA1 or BRCA2," says Dana
Zakalik, M.D., oncologist and director of
the Beaumont Cancer Genetics Program.
"Women of Ashkenazi descent and
women with a family history of breast
or ovarian cancer may want to seriously
consider going through genetic testing.
There are proactive steps to take to lessen
"Women who already developed breast
cancer should also be tested because they
may be at a higher risk for developing can-
cer on the other breast' I I
For more information about the Pink Fund, visit