The Step Sisters are celebrating their fifth anniversary providing support to local breast cancer patients.
In 2014, a group of women who had been active in the breast cancer cause for years formally reorganized as a nonprofit and shifted their mission to directly support area patients. They wanted to fill gaps in service, like providing rides to treatment sessions, offering child care and delivering healthy food to help reduce stress and strain on patients.
Ashley Campolattaro and Angela Fuentes, founders and co-executive directors, said that they never want to see a situation where a patient has to cancel an appointment because she can’t find child care or doesn’t have a ride.
Five years ago, The Step Sisters started providing three support services at Inova Loudoun Hospital. The group has grown cautiously, ensuring that patient care never suffers and today, the group serves patients at six medical facilities in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. They have expanded their number of support services to nine, including two key projects—the Crisis Fund and the Chemotherapy Care Bag.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve unfortunately seen that some women are facing severe financial difficulties at time of diagnosis. They have to make the agonizing choice between paying rent and paying for their co-pays or medication,” the duo said.
The Crisis Fund was introduced in 2017 and is designed to help pay rent and mortgage, utilities and food. To date, the fund has provided more than $25,000 to patients in crisis situations.
Other services include transportation, fresh food delivery, childcare, house cleaning, lawn services and snow removal, pet care, gift cards and Chemotherapy Care bags—designed to be given to area breast cancer patients as they begin the chemo process. Approximately 800 bags have been distributed to patients so far.
While the anniversary is an important milestone, there are no plans to formally observe the anniversary. Instead, the team is busy preparing for its largest annual fundraiser—the Step Sisters’ Ribbon Run and Walk on April 27.
Individuals and companies interested in the event and the organization can learn more at stepsisters.org/ribbon-run.