By Taking Survey, Those With Breast Cancer Can Help Pink Fund Offer Financial Resources
Beth Fand Incollingo
IF YOU CAN SPARE five minutes, you can help the Pink Fund’s efforts to fill the financial gap you might experience if you need to stop working while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The group is seeking 1,000 people, diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40, to complete an online survey about how the journey affected them financially. The survey will support the organization’s efforts to bring more benefits to patients in need.
The Pink Fund’s mission is to assist during the first 90 days of lost income — before disability policies kick in — for patients who had to stop working to start treatment. The grants cover nonmedical expenses, such as costs for transportation to treatment, mortgage payments and health insurance premiums.
“It used to be that, for the insured, getting sick would not bankrupt a family. But now, we’re all impacted by the fact that people have very little savings and insurance is covering less and less,” Pink Fund founder Molly MacDonald says.
A new focus for the organization centers on the fact that long-term side effects from cancer treatment may stand in the way of continued full-time employment or prohibit survivors from returning to their previous jobs. The fund hopes to hire financial navigators to work one-on-one with patients to find resources that can offer additional financial help — and the survey will raise awareness about this crucial need, paving the way for the Pink Fund to seek grant money to pay the navigators. Titled “The Financial Impact of Cancer Treatment for Young Survivors,” the survey focuses on younger patients because they face more years in the workforce, during which they could lose wages due to lingering cancer-related issues. “It’s a very unique challenge, because the young survivors are facing even more devastation financially,” McDonald says.
In a survey last year of 587 people of all ages affected by breast cancer — 89 percent of them insured — the Pink Fund found that 47 percent used retirement accounts to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, 26 percent paid with credit cards, 41 percent skipped or altered medications or treatments to save money, 37 percent were still in debt, 23 percent nearly went broke, and 36 percent lost jobs or were unable to work due to treatment-caused disability. Those taking this year’s survey do not need to be under age 40 but should have been in that age bracket when diagnosed. To participate, visit surveymonkey.com/r/THEPINKFUND.