EXETER TWP., Pa. - For those battling cancer, household cleaning can prove to be a nearly impossible challenge.
"It's hard to run a vacuum cleaner when it hits your bones… it's very painful… it really takes a toll on ya," said Deidre Grubb, of Exeter Township.
For over a decade, Grubb has battled Multiple Myeloma, an aggressive blood cancer. She receives chemotherapy several times a month, and is often too weak to clean.
But now, thanks to an international non-profit, "Cleaning for a Reason," it's a burden she doesn't have to face so frequently.
Once a month for four months, Grubb has been visited by Julie Welch, of Julie's Cleaning & Organizing LLC. For free of charge, Welch sweeps, vacuums and dusts several rooms in Grubb's home.
"I'm very thankful to be able to just do what I do, and be able to help people in this way," said Welch. "It can be done very easily, and it's such a great, great help to these ladies."
For more than a year, Welch has partnered with "Cleaning for a Reason," which matches cleaning providers and cancer patients within the same region. Between the United States and Canada, more than 19,000 cleanings have been completed by more than 1,050 maid services like Welch's.
But in Berks County, Welch said there's a great need for volunteer cleaners. Right now, she's one of just four participants.
"There's a lot of women who can desperately use these services and to have more cleaning partners available would just increase the number of women who get help," said Welch.
In addition to volunteers, Welch said the organization is also in need of funds. She's currently running a fundraiser called, "Where's Penelope now?" where people can offer donations in a decorated piggy bank throughout the year.
From April 25 to May 2, Penelope will be stationed at The Speckled Hen in downtown Reading. Next, she'll visit Junk to Jazz in Shillington from May 2 to May 16.
"She's going to be traveling all over Berks," said Welch. "And anyone who would like to host a visit for Penelope is more than welcome."
"Even if it's just a couple cents, feed Penelope because this is a great cause," said Grubb.
Those interested in getting involved, including cleaners and cancer patients, should visit cleaningforareason.org.
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