No one should have to fight breast cancer by themselves. That is the lesson Heather Lee learned as she beat cancer.
Lee was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in July 2014.
"The scariest day of my life," Lee said. "It was really hard."
The Pinckneyville, Il. native largely credits the community for her survivor story.
Lee remembers people she only kind of knew offering rides to the hospital, bringing by food and offering up what they could to help.
She distinctly remembers one day when a family friend stopped Lee at work.
"She handed me this money and I just stuck in my pocket and said thank you very much and then she left and I pulled the money out and I looked at it and it was $200," Lee said.
It was at that point Lee realized she wanted to give back, especially since the price to fight breast cancer isn't cheap.
"I know my insurance has been billed well-over $400,000. Luckily our insurance has covered a very, very large chunk of that," Lee said. "But I know there are women and men out there who don't have that luxury."
That is why she started a non-profit organization called the Pink Ladies of Southern Illinois.
The goal is to provide aid to breast cancer patients in the following Illinois counties: Perry, Jackson, Randolph, Washington. Williamson and Franklin. The group plans on offering emotional and financial help, whether it be a hand to hold or money for co-pays, gas or even groceries.
Lee says the group serves as a reminder for others they don't have to take on this fight alone.
"I don't know if I could've made it through as well as I did with out all of the support that I had," Lee said. I just want other people to have that same feeling: that somebody does care."
Currently, the group is working to raise money.
On October 10, the pink ladies will host a benefit at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Pinckneyville, which will include a dinner, dance, silent and live auction with a poker run earlier in the day.
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