Charity helps cancer patients with fertility issues

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 19, 2016

Shutterstock image


Troy resident Dena King, 27, was diagnosed with breast cancer following a breast self-exam six months ago.

Before she began her chemotherapy at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, her doctors recommended she harvest her ova if she wanted to have children when her treatment was complete; she became engaged to Andrew Polley in July.

Her doctors told her that chemotherapy reduces ova production or may eliminate them altogether. However, the procedure is not covered by her insurance, and King said the cost for the medicine alone for the procedure was over $5,000.

Enter Team Maggie for a Cure, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that funds grants up to $2,500 to help with the costs of fertility treatments for cancer patients.

King applied for a grant from Team Maggie and received it. She has also received help with her expenses from the Livestrong Foundation and Walgreens. She has a double mastectomy scheduled for later this month.

“I have so much support around me,” King said. “I’m very loved. I’m not going to say it’s an easy process, but it’s bearable. Chemo has been the hardest thing in my life. It affects you physically and emotionally.”

Debbie Distler Drake, of Berkley, became involved in Team Maggie for a Cure, based in Georgia, after Maggie Davis, the daughter of her best friend, Mary Jones, battled breast cancer and learned that insurance did not cover costs for fertility treatments. Davis is now cancer-free.

“We help people all over the country,” Distler Drake said.

Team Maggie helps men too.

“We have helped 12 people this year, including people in Bloomfield Hills and Clinton Township,” Distler Drake said.

Catching Fireflies stores at 203 E. University St. in Rochester and 3117 W. 12 Mile Road in Berkley will donate 12 percent of their proceeds earned noon-5 p.m. Oct. 30 to Team Maggie for a Cure.

There will be a fundraiser to help King with her expenses, and donations will be accepted 4-8 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Lathrup Village Community Room, 27400 Southfield Road in Lathrup Village. There will be refreshments and a silent auction. King has a GoFundMe account at

For information on Team Maggie For a Cure, visit