Patient Spotlights



Rhoda debated skipping her annual mammogram in April 2017. She had just received a bill of clean health from a similar screening a few months earlier for a specific issue her doctor was following. As an ultrasound and imaging professional, Rhoda knew she should still go to the appointment just in case

Soon after, the call came, additional tests were run, and she received a breast cancer diagnosis. It was overwhelming news to receive. Thoughts raced through her mind, “How will I cope? Can I work? Rhoda and her husband knew they had to get through the next week, to her youngest daughter’s college graduation, before they could tell their kids.

It was a picture-perfect day with her four children and husband together celebrating the momentous occasion of her baby receiving her college diploma. After lunch and before her kids went their separate ways, Rhoda broke the news of her diagnosis to her adult children. With conviction and strength, she consoled her children, “This will be okay. It’s treatable. You hear things happening to others and now it’s happening to our family, but it will be okay. We just have to help each other out.” That positive, straightforward outlook is how Rhoda got through her year of treatment.

Rhoda was fully employed and insured and was surrounded by friends, family, and her church community. Ellie Fund was still able to become part of her support system when she was introduced to them through her oncologist’s office. No one plans for a cancer diagnosis. Patients can be financially secure but as treatment goes on for months and sometimes years circumstances change, and work benefits diminish. Ellie Fund allows patients to pick their top needed services as every patient’s priorities and needs are different. Grocery and gas gift cards were the biggest help to Rhoda and her family.

“Ellie Fund was the most welcoming thing for me,” Rhoda noted. “At first, you think this is the end of everything. Then they come to your side and ask what you need and help you the best they can. I didn’t realize there was someone out there fighting for me and that I was not alone.”


Throughout the pandemic, Rhoda thought of the people getting a breast cancer diagnosis while being laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 and the additional financial stress and isolation they would feel. When her daughter Vimbai mentioned the want to positively contribute to the community through fundraising, Rhoda reminded her of Ellie Fund’s impact on their family. Vimbai is now hosting a running fundraiser this month which has already raised more than $2,000!

Ellie Fund is able to serve close to 1,000 patients each year because of the generosity of our community members like Rhoda and her family.