South Jersey Coalition Continues Breast Cancer Fight
As we recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the South Jersey Breast Cancer Coalition is working to eradicate the disease through education, advocacy and action.
The non-profit was launched in 1997 by Loretta Mikulski and a partner after realizing support for the issue was lacking in New Jersey.
"We basically advocate for breast cancer patients, and we do that on several different levels," Mikulski said.
This includes educating patients and survivors with the most up-to-date information, advocating on the state and local levels, and providing direct to assistance to patients.
"To date, we have awarded $88,000 to clients," she said.
Mikulski estimates they directly help 10-15 women each year, donating up to $1,000 per patient for essential services.
"Our client assistance fund has a six-month waiting list because there are that many people that don't realize the financial impact that breast cancer has on a family until your faced with it," she explained.
Mikulski said since they are a small organization, they hope to help as many patients as possible with expenses to reduce stress about bills during their treatment.
"Our money does not go to research," said said. "It goes directly to the patients."
The latest figures project that there will be over 7,000 new cases this year in New Jersey, with nearly 1,200 women succumbing to the disease. While Mikulski believes that the increased awareness this month is great, she said it's important to keep year-round attention on the issue.
"Breast cancer doesn't take a holiday just because October's over," she said.