The national nonprofit organization, Cleaning For A Reason, believes families facing cancer should have access to house cleaning services through trying seasons.
It’s found many partners in Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa to achieve this mission.
Founded in 2005, the organization has more than 1,000 cleaning companies – some independently owned, others part of a franchise – providing two house cleanings, free of charge, to cancer patients and families throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In the East Valley, at least five cleaning services currently partner with Cleaning For A Reason.
For Gilbert’s Two Maids & A Mop franchise owners Ryan Myers and Lorena Munoz de Myers, giving back to cancer patients is close to their hearts: Lorena was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, one month before her 45th birthday.
By January 2019 – after repeated chemotherapy, radiation, three surgeries and antibodies sessions, the tenacious cancer warrior received the all clear.
“I tell our Cleaning For A Reason clients, ‘Look at me! If I can do it, you can do it,” said Lorena, 47. “They see me now and say, ‘you don’t look like you had cancer’, and I tell them I used natural foods and I stayed busy. I tell them, ‘Don’t stay in bed!’ They need to stay active.”
Her husband said Two Maids & A Mop franchise supports with Cleaning For A Reason’s cause and involvement was one of the reasons the couple chose to go with them.
“My wife and I had a cleaning business for more than five years and then we converted to this franchise,” said Myers. “From corporate on down, the more than 80 franchisees believe in giving back where we can.”
Myers said his wife’s cancer experience was but one in a long line of family cancer issues, including several relatives who succumbed to a variation of the disease.
“And many of customers, too, are affected. It seems one out of five households has someone in their home who’s had cancer, even pets with cancer,” he said.
The family-owned and operated Master’s Touch Cleaning Service of Mesa got involved with Cleaning For A Reason in 2015.
The company placed among the nonprofit’s Top 25 Cleaning Partners for 2018. Mesa’s Carnation Home Cleaning Company, founded in 1991, ranked among the Top 100.
“Our company provides around 10 hours each month to patients undergoing treatment for cancer to fill in any voids in our schedule. It keeps our employees busy and patients are satisfied with the end result during a difficult time in their lives,” said Master’s Touch owner Kelly Kuter.
“At one time the organization asked us to provide four free cleanings over four months, but there were so many patients and so few cleaning companies willing to provide this donated service, the organization cut back to two free cleanings over two months,” she explained. “We generally have three to four patients in our queue at any time.”
Family-owned East Valley Cleaning Authority, based in Chandler since 2001, partnered with Cleaning For A Reason seven years ago.
Owned by Patrick Orr, Ken Orr and Megan Orr, and their 6-year-old Glendale company, The Northwest Valley Cleaning Authority, remain active with Cleaning For A Reason.
“To date, we’ve provided 150 to 200 cleanings for 40 patients in our local community,” said Patrick Orr. “I have no idea how much money we’ve donated to the organization; I’d say our total donation value is in the tens of thousands at this point.”
The Orrs’ company, like other cleaning services involved with Cleaning for a Reason, forfeit financial benefits from serving cancer patients but the owners don’t mind.
“At some point, you realize that the bottom line isn’t the only metric that matters,” Patrick explained.
“Is it expensive to provide free cleaning? Sure, and even more so when you consider how busy our operation is,” he continued. “Any time you take those resources and commit them to free services, you’re also forgoing the revenues and patronage that would be realized through our normal channels of operation.
“Yet a powerful truth to confront is that there’s a much larger picture to consider. For our team, it becomes increasingly rewarding to realize that these efforts help their actual neighbors; they get to both see and feel the impact. It’s incredibly powerful,” he continued, adding:
“Certainly, we don’t operate under the illusion that our efforts take aim at any cure for cancer, but our team loves that we participate in the recovery process for our neighbors within the community.”
He said he brings up his involvement with Cleaning for a Reason when he interviews prospective employees “because we want like-minded members on our team.”
The Orr family also prefers to keep their work with the charity low-key.
“We don’t use the program for advertising purposes; we prefer to help the community without an agenda which from a business standpoint would likely be viewed as an error,” he said. “One unique add-on from our team is we pay a local printing company to produce large cards for everyone in our office to sign, then leave for each patient we serve.
“Helps make it a great team-building activity, and we hope puts a smile on the faces of the patients and their families as they navigate through their new, tough reality.”
Olga Maya, owner of Chandler-based Alert Cleaning Services was contacted directly by Cleaning For A Reason once she’d started her company in 1995.
Since then, Alert Cleaning Services served countless women and now families, undergoing cancer treatments.
She, too, had experienced the trauma of a relative with cancer and knew first-hand of the strain it placed on every area of one’s life.
“My mom passed away with cancer so I related, and because of her I got involved,” she explained. “I think it’s a great way to help, to give women and families a little break. It helps put a smile on their face, and it’s a little less for them to worry about.”
Maya said whenever she can, she tells people about the Cleaning For A Reason organization.
“I always share how I’m involved with Cleaning For A Reason because so many people haven’t heard about it,” she said. “You don’t know when you’re going to need it or one of your clients or friends can use it. It’s a wonderful organization.”
The nonprofit was founded by Debbie Sardone, at the time, owner of Texas-based Buckets & Bows Maid Service after a client told her she had cancer and could no longer afford the housecleaning service.
It touched her heart, and at an industry gathering, she shared her belief that no woman undergoing cancer should have the additional burden of cleaning her home. Other cleaning services joined with her when she set up her nonprofit.
Today 1,200 maid services have partnered with Cleaning For A Reason offering two free monthly house cleanings to those battling any type of cancer.
Cancer patients wishing to receive the service must apply on the nonprofit’s website CleaningForAReason.org. If there’s an opening in their area, they’ll be asked to fax a doctor’s note stating they are undergoing cancer treatments.
Tax-deductible ‘In Honor’ or ‘In Memory’ donations to Cleaning For A Reason can be done online.