BEVERLY HILLS — While Mother’s Day is a day of celebration for millions of women around the world, for some it is also a stark reminder of loss.
As a breast cancer survivor and founder of the nonprofit organization The Pink Fund, Beverly Hills resident Molly MacDonald is reminded of many families who have lost mothers to the disease, as well as of the words of the women, themselves.
“They say to us, ‘Please don’t forget me. We don’t want to be forgotten,’” MacDonald said.
“People want to be remembered, and especially the women we work with who die young.”
MacDonald founded The Pink Fund in 2006 after her own diagnosis of breast cancer left her, a single mother, unable to work or pay her bills while in treatment. The Pink Fund provides breast cancer patients in active treatment with up to 90 days of direct financial assistance to cover non-medical expenses, such as health insurance premiums, housing, transportation and utilities.
The Pink Fund recently announced its partnership with Madison Heights-based My Inch of the Earth, a micro-funding site for nonprofits where users can claim any virtual inch of the earth or ocean, share why that inch is important to them, and choose a nonprofit that will benefit from the $12 annual donation.
“We thought it was a really fun idea. Everyone has a favorite place in the world that holds memories for them, and with Mother’s Day approaching, there are many poignant stories people have about their mothers that can be shared,” she said.
“People can identify with these places — such as where they went on their honeymoon, or where the family cottage is or where they went to high school — and they can share those stories on My Inch of the Earth.”
MacDonald said she chose her own inch at 245 Park Avenue in New York City, which happens to be the headquarters of Major League Baseball. MacDonald was at MLB, pitching a business deal in 2005, when she received the call about her diagnosis.
Her second choice of an inch, she added, would be the home she lives in now, which was saved from foreclosure with her mother’s help.
“When I was diagnosed, my mother was suffering from dementia, and when I would visit, she didn’t really know who I was. She would ask me, ‘Do you know Molly? Do you know she has breast cancer?’ At that point, my home was moving into full foreclosure because I had no income and could not work,” she said.
“One day, she said, ‘I’d like to help Molly. What do you think I can do to help her?’ And I said, ‘If you made her house payment, that would be huge.’ So, my mother saved us from being homeless.”
As MacDonald launched The Pink Fund, she was able to bring her mother home to live with her family during the last years of her life. She passed away in November of 2007.
At www.myinchoftheearth.com, visitors can open the “Claim an Inch” menu and search for inches by address, coordinates and place of interest, or browse through various inches and causes in the “Explore” menu.
Each virtual inch is marked by latitude and longitude coordinates exclusive to the purchaser, and is printed on a GoodDEED certificate. Gift givers can choose an inch and personalize it with words, photos or video.
Dan Glisky, president of My Inch of the Earth parent company TerraYebo, said in a release that inches are a unique way to honor loved ones.
“What better time of the year to do that and make a difference for a charitable cause than Mother’s Day,” Glisky said.
Other My Inch of the Earth nonprofit partners include the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, Autism Speaks, the National Park Foundation, Snow Leopard Trust, Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit, CURE International and Fair Trade USA.
MacDonald said The Pink Fund is currently assisting 71 women ages 26-71 in 28 states, and is on target to assist with nearly $250,000 in expenses in the current fiscal year.
“To date, we have assisted close to 192 women,” she said.
“And when I think about Mother’s Day, I remember that 185 women die from breast cancer every day in this country, so we can be sure that, this year, some child will be losing his or her mom.”
To purchase an inch, go to www.myinchoftheearth.com. For more information about The Pink Fund, visit www.thepinkfund.org.