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Breast Cancer Foundation Pays the Bills for Local Patients

Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one local non-profit organization is having events all month long to help pay the bills for breast cancer patients in the area. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

In an a large, white office building just off Jefferson Avenue in Springfield, five dedicated women work to help hundreds of breast cancer patients survive not only the illness, but also survive financially.

Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks has been helping women and men battle breast cancer for 10 years now.

The foundation was started by Mary Beth O’Reilly, who wanted to see breast cancer victims stay afloat financially while they battled the disease.

Stephanie Lutes is the development director for Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.

She says it’s hard for families to survive financially when they have to pay for expensive medical bills or if a parent has to quit working due to chemotherapy treatments.

“We will pay their house payment, their car payment. We have a children’s fund that if they have a parent because it’s also one in 1,000 men, so if you have a mom or a dad that is impacted by breast cancer then we will pay daycare, braces, school supplies, anything to help the family out, so they can focus on getting better,” Lutes said.

Lutes says the foundation is funded 99 percent by donations, which go toward helping patients only in the Ozarks.

She says the foundation also has big events throughout the year to help local breast cancer victims.“Our largest event is “Hooked on Dance,” and it is actually this Friday, so we are gearing up for that. But, we have over 200 sponsors that help out with that event and do sponsorships and raise money. And, then we do a live auction and gala type thing with a band at the end,” Lutes said.

Lutes says right now, Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks is serving 167 clients and their families.

The organization also helps families out in other areas like Joplin, West Plains, and also people living along the Arkansas and Oklahoma borders.

“Our goal is when individuals enter treatment we don’t want them to be any worse off when they are done with treatment. They are still in their home, they haven’t lost their home, they haven’t lost their car. They’re able to go on and live a healthy life,” Lutes said.

Lutes says the group also offers mentor and support groups for breast cancer victims and survivors.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.