As many of you may already know, I, along with five author pals, got together this Holiday Season and released a charming, heartwarming Christmas-themed short story collection for a very cool charity called Rocking the Road for a Cure. I had the opportunity to interview Dawn Frey, founder of Rocking the Road for a Cure, and I’m excited to be able to share some very cool info I learned about the charity with you. Please read the interview and see how you can get involved with what this very cool charity is doing. And please… Buy the book! Just 99 cents for the ebook and less than $10 for the paperback!
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Can you give us some background about Rocking the Road for a Cure? What inspired you to start it?
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was working as a therapeutic consultant with MS (multiple-sclerosis) clients, and wanted to start a non-profit organization to help MS patients get free in-home services. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and during my treatment, I went to a wellness retreat in Rhinebeck, NY sponsored by the Libby Ross Foundation. There I did rehabilitative yoga and got health and nutritional counseling in a group setting with other breast cancer patients going through treatment, and with survivors. I enjoyed the retreat, but at the time, because of my treatment, my immune system was compromised, so I asked if I could get these services at home. They told me they only had offices in Manhattan, and I was not comfortable with making the trip into the city and the exposure to so many other people. I felt that even if the yoga at their center helped for an hour, the stress of the travel and finding parking, and the potential exposure to all those people when my immunity was low could set me back much more.
I researched getting these services at home, but nobody was providing them. I decided that once I got better, I would start an organization to provide wellness services at home for others. People going through cancer treatment should be able to have the benefits of these kinds of things without the stress of having to get to an appointment, the stress on their immune systems, or having to deal with not being comfortable in public if they’ve lost their hair, or other issues like that.
How many women have you worked with since you started?
Rocking The Road For A Cure has now helped 50 patients. 49 women and 1 man.
How is this organization different than other breast cancer focused organizations?
We provide some of the same services as other organizations, but patients don’t have to go someplace to get them. They don’t have to make an errand out of getting them. Our service providers are certified and licensed professionals, not volunteers. One unique thing about RTRFAC is our nurse case manager service. We have a licensed, certified nurse case manager contact each patient and make a home visit within a week of first contact to assess each patient’s individual needs and their home environment. The nurse case manager can then recommend services that might help the patient, but that the patient might not have requested themselves, like nutritional counseling.
Another thing that’s different about us is that we don’t look at patients’ financial information. We provide services to anyone, regardless of financial status, and treat all patients the same that way.
What types of things do you do for women with breast cancer?
Our website and brochure have a full list of our services, and there are a lot of things we do. In the wellness services category, we provide in-home yoga, reiki, massage, meditation. Lymphedema is something that happens to many breast cancer patients when their lymph nodes are affected or removed, so we have a licensed massage therapist who specializes in lymphedema and breast cancer and makes home visits.
Under support services, we have the nurse case managers, a recreational therapist, childcare specialists and counselors, transportation to and from medical appointments. For household help, we have a nutritionist who helps shop for and prepare healthy foods, and teaches patients how to do this. We also provide housecleaning and laundry help, and professional organizing, and we have beauty consultants who will take our clients wig shopping and we pay for their wig.
For any services we don’t currently provide, we have a wide range of resources we can use for referral. We’re also open to and willing to do whatever a patient needs help with. For example, we recently got a client who’s elderly and whose daughter is wheelchair bound and can’t accompany her to her cancer treatments. We got her a companion who not only takes her to and from, but stays with her during her appointments. Chemo can take several hours, so this way the client isn’t alone during that time, and there’s someone to report back to family members as well.
Are there any specific requirements for women to use your services?
Our clients must be going through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, and they have to have an official cancer diagnosis from a doctor. For any services that require physical contact, like yoga or massage, we require a physician’s release form and medical release from their doctor on the doctor’s letterhead.
What are some goals for Rocking the Road for a Cure in the coming years?
We really want to expand our services to more people in a larger geographic area. We also want to be able to provide more services and service hours per client…to increase the allotted funding per client. Our services are free to clients, but our licensed, professional service providers are paid competitively. So we need to increase our funding to be able to give more to clients. Most of our funding so far has come from fundraising events and individual donations. More recently, we’ve started applying for grants to help us grow at the rate we’d like.
How do you find women to help? Do you have relationships with cancer centers? Doctors? Word of mouth?
Actually, all of the above. We have partnerships with Adelphi University’s New York State Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program, and with other women’s health service organizations in our area. We do cross-referencing and referrals with other local breast cancer organizations. We get referrals from local oncologists, plastic surgeons and physical therapists that specialize in treating breast cancer patients. We’ve done community outreach, speaking at local civic organizations. And we get word of mouth referrals too.
How can people get involved?
We welcome involvement! Anyone interested can make a donation through our website, www.rockingtheroadforacure.org, and they can contact us through there as well if they’re interested in volunteering. We have long- and short-term volunteer opportunities, like if someone is interested in helping us with a specific fundraising event. We’d welcome some help with marketing and website maintenance. And we always welcome promotion of our organization on your websites and Facebook pages.
We’re very lucky and grateful to have become involved with the creators of Merry Chick Lit, so THANK YOU to all the authors who donated their time and talent to helping us!
In the spirit of giving, six chick-lit authors “present” a charming collection of seasonal shorts sure to inspire holiday cheer-plus love and hope throughout the year, with all proceeds donated to Rocking the Road for a Cure! Featured authors & stories include:
Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
In “Santa’s Gift,” journalist Jessica thinks Santa’s just a silly myth for children, so when he asks what she most wants for Christmas she tells him the one thing she knows he can’t deliver–true love. Or can he…?
In “The Christmas Lights,” one competition pits two families against each other…who will win this war?
Pretty Izzy knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: hunky sales manager Jake Harrington wrapped up with a shiny silver bow–and nothing else. Except Santa may have other plans in “Carol of the Belles.”
In “Spinster Christmas,” Cara’s looking forward to spending Christmas alone until she learns her old–and she believes very gay–crush needs a place to stay. Though it soon becomes clear that while still hot, Ronan isn’t gay after all…
Ella’s dreams of making a better life for her and her daughter seem further away than ever in “Iced Dreams.” But as Christmas approaches, and she wishes for a fairy godmother to wave a magic wand to fix her life, things begin to change in ways she never imagined!
In “The Mermaid,” Allie’s content to spend Christmas by herself at a vacant beach house to make good on a promise made to her true love lost, Jeff. Until Jeff’s gorgeous college roommate Tim crashes in on her with his own promise to keep…
So snuggle up near the fire with a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa and enjoy these festive holiday shorts, knowing your purchase of this book is helping women with breast cancer.