Archive for October, 2014

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Undergoing cancer treatment is stressful. Trying to take care of your housecleaning adds to that stress.  Cleaning For a Reason offers free house cleaning services to women, 19 years or older, undergoing treatment for cancer (any type of cancer) in the United States and Canada.

Incorporated in Texas in 2006 as a not-for-profit foundation, Cleaning for a Reason has provided more than 17,000 cleanings nationally for  women, with a value of more than $4,500,000 with the help of over 1,100 participating maid services who volunteer their time to clean.



How Does The Service Work?

Cleaning for a Reason partners with professional residential maid services (who are insured or insured or bonded and perform background checks on their employees) to participate in our foundation. The partner companies take 2 patients at a time and offer each patient 4 free cleanings, one a month for 4 consecutive months as a way to give back to their community. Patient applications are accepted online. Once Cleaning for a Reason staff receive a patient’s physician’s verification of treatment, they match the patients with a maid service partner. Patients can schedule cleaning services through the partner maid service while they are undergoing treatment or at a time that is convenient for them. FAQ page here.


How Do Patients Sign Up For the Services?

Patients Can Sign Up Here by filling out a short online application.    Do not contact the cleaning service directly.


How Can I Help?

Cleaning For a Reason cleaning services are not done by volunteers. However, the foundation does need donations and volunteers in other capacities for fundraising and office work in local partner offices.   Donations are always needed and appreciated as well as being tax-deductible. Click here to donate to Cleaning For a Reason. If you are able to Donate $1000 or more, become a sponsor by clicking here.


How Did Cleaning For a Reason Get Started?

From their website: Cleaning for a Reason was the brainchild of President and Founder, Debbie Sardone, owner of Buckets & Bows Maid Service, Lewisville, TX.


Debbie Sardone, President/Founder of Cleaning For a Reason

Debbie took a phone call from a prospective client several years ago. After providing the woman a price quote, the prospect paused before saying, “I won’t be able to afford that now; I’m undergoing cancer treatment” and hung up. Debbie hadn’t gotten the woman’s phone number and was unable to call back to make arrangements. In that instant, Debbie decided that no woman undergoing cancer treatment would ever be turned down by her business. In fact, they would be given free housecleaning service.

Calling her staff, Debbie announced the new policy, which the company has used over and over, through the years. In 2005, Debbie shared her story with other maid services at a national cleaning industry convention. She shared her conviction that it was these women, undergoing the physical, emotional; and financial rigors of cancer treatment, who needed professional housecleaning services the most. An onslaught of cleaning business owners began expressing their interest and support. When she returned to Texas, Debbie registered Cleaning For A Reason as a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation. With word of this at the next convention, maid services began signing up to donate their services on the spot.


Why Not Offer Cleaning Services to Men or People With Other Illnesses

While Debbie and the foundation would like to help everyone, they realized they do not have the resources to offer their services to a wide range of people with a variety of illnesses. The team at Cleaning for a Reason wants to remain focused on their primary mission. However, others are free to start free cleaning or helping services with their own foundation. Debbie and Cleaning For a Reason is a great role model for how to go about creating such a service!

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By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently I came across an article from one of my favorite blogs, Sciencebasedmedicine.org.  The post, The Role of Anecdotes in Science Based Medicine” struck a chord with me. In the world of massage therapy and complimentary or alternative medicine, anecdotes are the main source of “proof.” For example, I hear people say, “My friend went to this lady who did Reiki on her and she recovered from her fibromyalgia…after a while. It must be the Reiki!” Or, “I’ve been drinking this (coconut water, gogi juice, kombuchu) and now my (skin, bowels, emotional state) is much improved. It must be the coconut water. I am buying a case.” Or, of course, “Dr. Oz says…”

I’ve learned to be skeptical of websites touting the latest cure/fad/craze of some new miracle drug/herb, supplement/technique that cures all ills based on anecdotal evidence. When actual medical scientific research is conducted (not a You Tube video of a guy in a lab dressed up in a white lab coat waving at some machines), there tends to be no evidence, weak evidence, or no effect beyond placebo, to show that the claims have any validity. To put it in old-fashioned terms, it’s usually snake oil. But some people believe the snake oil claims more than they believe medical science. Why is that?

People that do not understand science do not trust it, understandably. Some point to an article of a scientist selling out his research to Big Pharm to justify their general mistrust of science and research.  However, this ignores the many scientists who don’t sell out. Or people firmly believe their own experiences and do not question the sequence of events that led to a miracle cure. Yet our experiences may be colored by our perceptions and may not be as objective as we think!

For example, let’s say I fall and hit my knee, which proceeds to swell up. I take a few ibuprophin pills and put an ice pack on my knee.

About 20 minutes later a shaman friend stops by and I ask him to help me. He waves his hands over my knee and chants something mystical sounding. Soon I look at my knee and wow, the swelling is going down!  So, was it the ibuprofen (which takes about 20-30 minutes  to take effect), the ice pack (which also takes time to take effect), or the shamans hand-waving chant-making that reduced the swelling? In such a situations, it is hard to tell. But in retelling the story, if all I recall is the shaman because that was the most unusual and memorable portion of the experience, then it may seem as the shaman did the healing. And, if the shaman was kind to me and I felt cared for, that also may lend me to want to believe it was his actions.

Many anecdotes (stories of someone’s experience) of non-science based healing may leave out the important elements of what helped someone heal. The person retelling the story may not recall the boring normal medical aids they used to overcome an illness or injury. Instead they recall the fantastical interventions because they make a better story and can serve to “prove” to themselves, if not others, that magical cures do work. The only people talking about the miracles of ibuprofen are on television commercials theses days.  People in 2014 are so familiar with over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen, that it no longer amazes us that a small pill can reduce physical pain! If you think about it, to a Highlander in 1744, ibuprofen would have been magic or witchcraft. But in 2014, we have research studies showing that ibuprofen works well on most pain for most people and we have science that explains how it works biochemically. Science explains that which was once magical, and also allows us to distinguish between that which is real and that which is folklore.

An attitude of skepticism is a sign of a good scientist and a careful consumer. Let research inform our choices of  health care services, not good marketing, celebrity endorsements or anecdotes alone.

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