A spark of hope: Sharon MacDonald Breast Cancer Fund helping SWFL women with treatment, support

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:
A cancer patient receives help choosing a wig (WINK News)

Healthcare isn’t cheap. Just one chemo treatment can cost up to $125,000. It can seem like your choosing between life and debt, and that’s if you have insurance.

Lisa Copeman says, at first, she thought her new health issues came from straining herself at work.

“There was a great big, egg-shaped thing that swelled up from lifting these heavy boxes at work,” she explained.

But then, “they found cancer inside the egg-shaped thing,” she said. “So it went from workman’s comp to – oh no, now what do I do? Because I didn’t have any insurance.”

Because of that, she feels no one in Southwest Florida wanted to treat her.

“He looked at me to make sure, and he said, ‘You need to get it out now,'” said Copeman. “I had no options. None.”

Then came a spark of hope from the Sharon MacDonald Breast Cancer Fund.

“She got us right in. In two days – filled out the paperwork, got me a grant and we were on our way,” Copeman said. “From that point on, I got taken care of like I was a paying customer.”

“We don’t want any of the costs of this to impede anyone from getting the best treatment they possibly can,” said Christopher Simoneau, chief foundation and development officer for Lee Health.

He says “the fund” does more than just help women afford their care.

“It’s helping you with wigs if need be. It’s doing care navigating and making sure you’re getting into the right appointments. It’s providing support groups,” he said.

Now, Copeman is cancer-free.

“They have made it so comforting for me that I just can’t thank everybody enough,” she said.

She says she’ll never forget the program that made sure she didn’t have to choose between life and debt.

The Sharon MacDonald Breast Cancer Fund has helped hundreds of women in Southwest Florida. Recently, the foundation received a $250,000 donation for the fund. For more information and how you can help, click here.

WINK News is working with Making Strides to raise awareness and money for breast cancer patients. For more information, click here.

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