COPY-`A sisterhood nobody wants to be a part of`

Kay Strickland and Marlo McKelvey Kanipe just met, but they appear to have been friends for years. They are connected by a bond that no woman wants to share with another.

"It's a sisterhood that nobody wants to be a part of," Strickland says.

They are both breast cancer survivors.

Kanipe, who owns Deserved Comfort Housekeeping, LLC is at Strickland's house to make sure her home gets cleaning services through the Cleaning for a Reason program. Deserved Comfort Housekeeping is one of  more than 1,100 maid services nationwide participating in Cleaning for a Reason.

"This has been awesome," Strickland says. "Before, nothing like this was available."

This is Strickland's second turn with breast cancer. Her first was 19 years ago. Since then, the oncologist who treated her has retired.

"The knowledge. The technology," she says. "Everything this time was so much easier because you didn't go into it blind and scared to death. There's people holding your hand. I hate telling people, after 19 years, that I have it again. But I also want everybody to be aware that it doesn't ever go away."

Strickland says if she hadn't caught the cancer early, she wouldn't be here now.

"The early detection saved me this time and saved me the time before."

Strickland emphasizes that same early detection for all women.

"Early detection is the most important thing. It is just so important. It saves lives."

Kanipe says she was fortunate, also, to catch the cancer early.

"Without the mammogram, I would have never known I had cancer until it was too late," she says.

"We're not guaranteed tomorrow and your health is something that we all take for granted," Kanipe says. "When you get to a certain age as a woman, you should start having mammograms."

Kanipe says her personal experience with breast cancer motivated her to get involved in Cleaning for a Reason. She understands the needs of her clients.

"It's one less thing a woman has to worry about. On top of going through treatment and worrying about herself, she has to take care of her family. She has to take care of her home.  It's the least I can do for them."

Free of charge, a person is provided to clean the home of cancer patients. More than 17,000 cleanings have been provided through Cleaning for a Reason.

"This has just been awesome to me not to have to worry about it," says Strickland. "That's just so important -- to know somebody's doing this because they care. Because they've been there and they understand. And that helps  you through this."

"I have a lot of faith," Strickland says. "I know God was there the first time with me  and he hasn't forgotten me this time."

And she's hopeful that some day, no woman will experience breast cancer.

"I firmly believe that my grandchildren's children are gonna' say, 'What is breast cancer? I've never heard of such a thing.' I had polio when I was a very young girl and now my grand kids have never heard of polio."

To contact Kanipe or Deserved Comfort Housekeeping, call 739-9700.


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