Caring in Our Lifetime offers assistance to those battling breast cancer
Those famous pink ribbons, feather boas and even the humorous “Save the TaTas” bumper stickers have all helped spread the word about breast cancer, affecting some one out of eight women in the U.S. Far too many women and their families along the Grand Strand will face this horrible disease and the costs that come with treatment.
Caring in Our Lifetime, now nearly 21 years strong, began as a local group of colleagues at Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum) who banded together to help a co-worker stricken with breast cancer. From humble beginnings the organization has grown and now serves some 25 families every year. With an all-volunteer staff, the nonprofit group gives an estimated 95 percent of funds raised back to those in need in Horry and Georgetown counties.
“I’ve been on the board for 17 years,” says Julie Bostian, whose mother and grandmother are both breast cancer survivors. “This organization is very close to my heart.” CIOL assists those clients afflicted with breast cancer by paying medical bills pertaining to their treatment. “Even those with insurance can find huge out-of-pocket expenses,” said Bostian, “and some of our clients don’t have any insurance at all. They’re referred to us by doctors’ offices, where we qualify them. They go through a comprehensive application process so we’re certain we’re assisting those in greatest need.”
CIOL’s volunteers have become experts at renegotiating doctor’s office and treatment center bills. “We work individually with each client, and we can often obtain big reductions and pay the bills off.
“We’d love to serve even more clients, but we’re limited by our budget based on the funds raised,” continued Bostian. “So many of those afflicted are first devastated by the diagnosis, and then they’re devastated financially. But when they or other family members tell us of the impact we’ve made by easing the burden even a little, it makes it all worth it.”
Every October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, CIOL hosts countless events that raise awareness and funds. “We have many wonderful individuals and local businesses that come to us year after year and offer their support,” said Bostian. “Rock the Ribbon with [musician/teacher] Angie Capone, the BFF [Breast Friends Forever] Pink Ribbon Run each September, area restaurants, all kinds of businesses support us in so many different ways. They’re truly wonderful.”
Photographs courtesy of Caring in Our Lifetime