Most people would say that being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing event. It’s a scary and stressful time when most — if not all — of a person’s focus is concentrated on fighting the disease, which leaves no time for the little things, such as housecleaning.
That’s where Housekeeping Associates, a partner with the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation, can step in to help.
Based out of Ann Arbor, Housekeeping Associates offers residential and commercial cleaning services, as well as window washing and gutter cleaning services. The company serves west Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Ingham counties.
Debra Shankland started the business in 1990, and began servicing the west Oakland area in 1997.
Through partnering with Cleaning for a Reason, Housekeeping Associates offers free housecleaning services to cancer patients.
“As a partner of the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation, we have the privilege of providing free cleaning for women undergoing treatment for cancer,” Shankland said. “Providing home cleaning for women during one of the most stressful times of their lives is at the very heart and soul of what we do every day.”
In May 2006, Debbie Sardone, a veteran of the cleaning industry, formed the foundation, a non-profit organization serving the United States and Canada that partners with maid services to offer free professional housecleaning to help women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer.
Shankland’s business became a participant in 2007 after she became friends with Sardone, who was the president of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International at the time.
“We became friends, and she invited me to participate,” Shankland said. “She’s been really putting 100 percent into (Cleaning for a Reason).”
So far, Cleaning for a Reason has served 10,548 patients with the $2.66 million that has been donated. It has 945 cleaning partners and has attracted major corporate sponsors such as Hoover, Swiffer, Mr. Clean, and Walmart.
The organization has even been featured on Oprah.
As a partner with Cleaning for a Reason, Housekeeping Associates has cleaned the homes of 40 cancer patients in its service area.
“They are so grateful,” Shankland said of the people her company has helped.
As for the response of the staff, Shankland said she was “overwhelmed” by their positive attitude.
“They feel great that they can participate and give,” she said. “Of course, they are still getting paid. But it’s for a good cause. Some of my staff wanted to do even more for the patients. Some even said, ‘You don’t have to pay me to do more.’”
As part of the program, the staff of Housekeeping Associates does various household cleaning chores for cancer patients, such as cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, vacuuming and dusting once a month for four months.
“That’s typically how long the process of chemotherapy takes,” Shankland said. “We help them through that transition when they are going through one of the hardest parts of the disease.
“As a local independent business, we are grateful for the success we have attained through our loyal customers,” she added. “We are proud of the services we provide and proud to be able to help those in need. We love to clean and are committed to providing the gift of a clean home to women undergoing treatment for cancer through the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation.”
For more information or to donate to Cleaning for a Reason, visit www.cleaningforareason.org.
To contact Housekeeping Associates, visit www.housekeepingassociates.com or call 810-220-0229.