Long-time readers of our Founder’s Blog will remember our post from last September where we discussed our upcoming “Angel Clean” partnership with Green Darlene, the eco-friendly, Twin Cities-based home cleaning company that uses only eco-friendly products in its work. Today we’re delighted to announce that that partnership has become a reality, as Green Darlene cleaners and Angel Foundation volunteers team up to clean the houses of cancer patients.

Angel Clean is a new program where cancer patients in active treatment around the Twin Cities area can apply for free or discounted house cleaning from Green Darlene using non-allergenic products designed to be easy on an immune system already weakened from treatment. The founders of Green Darlene, Cindy and David Bearman, got involved with Angel Foundation as a core part of their cleaning service’s mission, based on their own experiences with cancer in 1999.

The very idea of Green Darlene arose two years ago (the company has been in business for about one and a half years so far), but stemmed from when the Bearmans were forced to use green cleaning products in 1999, since Cindy had breast cancer and the chemicals in conventional detergents did not interact well with her body. They tossed their conventional products and replaced them with eco-friendly ones that didn’t cause problems, and then decided that there was an unfilled need for people to have cleaning done using less harsh, more eco-friendly products and went into business.

However, they remembered that the challenges Cindy had faced from cleaning with cancer weren’t just the result of the chemicals. She has also found that cleaning had become a huge effort for her. “I was very fortunate in that I had good friends and support; not everyone does,” says Cindy. “In treatment you don’t have the energy or stamina that you used to.”

She goes on, “You’d be amazed at what you can’t do cooking, cleaning David had to become ‘Mr. Mom'” for the household. Treatment can be extraordinarily draining, where the body has to focus on healing and doesn’t have the energy to sweep, scrub, and otherwise do even the small tasks of home life.

And a helping hand can make a huge difference but there’s not much out there to help. There were some alternative treatments and complementary therapies available through new medical center programs to try to keep patients’ strength up, but nothing for the actual chores themselves. “There’s not much support network out there beyond friends and family for the things that need to get done at home, and there especially wasn’t back then,” say the Bearmans. Thus, they started Angel Clean, working with Angel Foundation to get people in need back on their feet in their homes.

The first test runs of the program began last fall, and since the program roll-out this spring, 4 people have been helped out of 15 applicants. Professional cleaners and volunteers including the Bearmans, who are hands-on leaders meet every other weekend to clean houses for those in need.

They are, however, hoping to get volunteers from Angel to help clean as many houses in need as possible. Volunteers will work with the Bearmans and their cleaning staff to make life a little bit easier for cancer patients and their families. Without the help of local companies and charitable individuals, Angel Foundation would not be able to provide the wide-ranging array of services that we do to fill the gaps in support for Twin Cities adult cancer patients and their families.

If you’re a cancer patient interested in the Angel Clean program or anyone interested in volunteering, please visit our Angel Clean webpage or contact Green Darlene.