Anne Meisner of Natick was 28 and had just given birth to her second son when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2007. And despite having her medical costs mostly covered, she still needed help. Meisner found the Ellie Fund, which provides day-to-day support to women battling breast cancer.
Anne Meisner of Natick was 28 and had just given birth to her second son when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2007. And despite having her medical costs mostly covered, she still needed help.
“I needed everyday, basic help,” Meisner said. “I needed to pay for parking if I needed to go to the hospital all the time. I needed help with babysitting. I wasn’t really working at the time.”
Meisner found the Ellie Fund, which provides day-to-day support to women battling breast cancer. This includes facilitating rides to the hospital for treatment.
“At the time, I was talking to Julie Nations and basically she asked what would take out the daily stress of my life so I can concentrate on getting better,” Meisner said, referring to the Ellie Fund’s executive director. “They helped with house cleaning twice a month, helped me find child care and helped with groceries and meals.”
The meals came from Healthy Habits in Wellesley.
Jeff Popkin co-founded the Ellie Fund with his brother, Eliot, in honor of their late mother. Jeff Popkin, who also runs Boston Event Guide, lent the Ellie Fund space in his offices four years ago. Since then, the Ellie Fund has moved into a larger space in the same building.
The Ellie Fund tries to keep overhead as low as possible with Nations overseeing two part-time employees. Right now, the Ellie Fund services about 100 patients. Most patients are referred by medical professionals or discover the Ellie Fund through word of mouth.
“The Ellie Fund is the only organization of its kind that provides for the immediate needs if breast cancer patients and their families,” Nations said. “Now more than ever with what’s happening with the economy, people are having a hard time making ends meet…No one covers transportation to medical appointments.”
The Ellie Fund doesn’t ask for a patient’s financial information; they just need to know the person is going through breast cancer treatment and needs the organization’s help. The Ellie Fund raises money through several means. They host several events throughout the year. There will be a “Pink Party” at Circle Furniture in Framingham on Oct. 29. There will also be a Women in Comedy night at Memorial Hall in Plymouth on Oct. 30.
“We don’t raise money for research; we raise money for families,” Nations said.
Panera Bread in Boston has also helped raise money. Nations said Panera Bread is the organization’s biggest corporate sponsor and raises about $100,000 a year for the Ellie Fund. The restaurant chain offers customers the opportunity to make a donation to the Ellie Fund when purchasing food at the cash register.
“It’s the perfect example of corporate and non-profit partnership,” Nations said.
Meisner no longer has any evidence of breast cancer and remains busy raising her young children. She now volunteers her story in order to give back to the Ellie Fund after the help the organization provided her.
“When I was going through treatment, it was a valuable resource,” Meisner said, about her motivation to raise awareness of the Ellie Fund. “I’m happy to help women in a similar situation as me take care of home, family and friends.”
Visit elliefund.org to learn more.
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