Each year, nearly 200,000 people in America receive the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer. In Maryland, more than 4,000 families cope with that reality annually. Founded in 2002, The Red Devils is a 501 (c) (3) organization based in Baltimore whose mission is to fund services that improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients and their families.
Who Are We and What Do We Do?
Since 2002, The Red Devils has invested in excess of $1.8 million in services to help more than 4,000 breast cancer families cope with the economic and emotional strain of living with the disease. We have partnerships with 40 hospitals or other facilities throughout Maryland. Their medical staff and social workers refer patients to our business partners who provide a variety of services at no charge to the patient. Service providers authorized to respond to patients’ needs include van, sedan, and taxi companies; professional house cleaning franchises; Moveable Feast, and catering companies; respite and home care agencies; pharmacies; and complementary therapies practitioners.
Patients are eligible for services if they live and seek treatment in Maryland and are referred by participating hospitals and breast centers. Recipients of services are identified by social workers and support staff at these facilities. We have established relationships with those groups because they work closely with patients and are in the best position to determine who will benefit most from the following support services.
Treatment Transportation: One of the most common barriers to a successful course of treatment is the patient’s access to consistent transportation. Even for those fortunate enough to have family on whom they can rely, family “favors” exact their toll and can become burdensome or a source of guilt. Those without family or a support network wait at bus stops, if they can afford the fare. Others simply go without treatment because they have no access to transportation. The Red Devils responds to patients’ one-time or on-going needs for transportation by creatively using car services, cab and bus vouchers, gasoline cards, and parking passes to overcome the biggest obstacle to receiving treatment.
Family Support: Meals and groceries, house cleaning, utilities, rent and mortgage, after school and child care, and funeral expenses are among the family support services funded by The Red Devils. Our principle partners in food stability are Moveable Feast, Food and Friends, and Top Banana; all of which are nonprofit organizations. By drawing on the expertise of Merry Maids, MaidPro, and other house cleaning businesses, The Red Devils makes it possible for ailing patients to spend quality time with family rather than scrubbing and vacuuming. Recently, we earmarked funds for a “Fun Fund” to be used exclusively for stress-relieving, family leisure time. The fund provides gift cards to the zoo, family quick service restaurants, movie theaters, and other attractions.
Medical Services and Treatment-Related Therapies: A recent study of the lifetime per patient cost of breast cancer reports the expenses could be as much as $100,000, with continuing care accounting for the largest share. In supporting patients’ medical needs and treatment-related therapies, The Red Devils relies on the knowledge base of its hospital partners to determine where its limited funds should be invested to yield the greatest patient impact. Through their referrals The Red Devils funds chemotherapy and radiation treatments, medical co-payments and insurance premiums, medical examinations, acupuncture and massage therapy, nutritional counseling, wigs, psychotherapy, home care, and lymphedema therapy.
The Red Devils is a Maryland charitable organization inspired by the courage, grace and humor of two young women, Jessica Cowling and Ginny Schardt, who refused to be defined by their disease.
Jessica died in July 2002 and Ginny in August 2002 at the far too young ages of 31 and 44. Ginny and Jessica were surrounded by families and friends who loved and supported them every step of their journey. Others may not be so fortunate.
Please take a moment see our pages dedicated to them: