Elizabeth Edwards’ battle with breast cancer was a public fight; a fight she used to inspire others who suffered from the same condition. But, Edwards was also engaged in another fight: to try and make health insurance available to everyone so they could be treated for life-threatening diseases like cancer. Although she never lived to see that dream come true, a grassroots organization based in Raleigh is trying to make sure no one is denied breast cancer treatments just because they can’t pay for them.
The Pretty in Pink Foundation pays for life-saving medical treatment for North Carolina patients, regardless of their ability to pay, thus helping breast cancer patients cope medically and financially with breast cancer. “The areas we take care of for women with financial support are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” explained foundation executive director Penny Lauricella.
In her passing, Elizabeth Edwards is raising cancer awareness at a time when organizations like Pretty in Pink have need outstripping their resources. “Financially it’s quite hard for us to raise funds, but we cannot say no,” said Lauricella. Six years ago, Bernadette Pickles was told she had breast cancer. “Nobody wants to talk about what happens once you are diagnosed with the disease and the rippling effect it has,” explained Pickles, who is also the foundation’s director of outreach.
Bernadette believes Elizabeth Edwards’ public cancer battle has helped others fight the disease. “Currently, Pretty in Pink is paying the cancer treatment bills for 1,000 women with 181 others still waiting to be processed.
~ Kim Carther