Group helps low income women diagnosed with breast cancer

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Pink is the color of the month, as many organizations bring awareness to breast cancer. Tonight, we're focusing on one organization called the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund and what it does for low income women who are diagnosed.

It's Anita's first day working with the BCEF. She probably knows more about the organization than most people. That's because before she took the job, she was a cancer patient herself.

"Through their help I had peace of mind," she said. "And I know I will always get the support so I could finish school and I can do something else that I want."

The Breast Cancer Emergency Fund helps women diagnosed with breast cancer pay their rent, utilities, and other living expenses while they undergo treatment.

"Nearly all of them are in hourly jobs," said Mike Smith with the BCEF. "They usually don't have insurance from their employer and they don't have medical leave."

The organization was created within the AIDS Emergency Fund.

"It was an opportunity 14 years ago for the men involved in HIV work to give back to the women who had been caregivers in the early days of HIV," Smith said.

Anita will now help Asian women diagnosed with breast cancer navigate through the system.

"I found out, especially new immigrants, they don't know where to get help," she said. "They lack resources."

The organization has many supporters, including the The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, which has created a drink called "The Girls." For every cocktail sold, the BCEF will get $1. The hotel will also donate $10 for each tea seating. It's part of the hotel's commitment to communities around the world.

"Underprivileged children, poverty, environmental conversation in the communities in which we do our business," said Bruce Gorelick with The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.

On Wednesday night and through the month, the hotel will be illuminated pink, shining light on the issue of breast cancer.

Click here to learn more about how you can join ABC7 in helping to raise awareness about breast cancer.
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