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August 5th, 2011
07:36 PM ET

CNN Heroes: A helping hand for young breast cancer patients

Bellevue, Washington (CNN) - Just a year before turning 40, Judy Haley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that required an immediate mastectomy.

The procedure and the treatments that followed left her fatigued, nauseated and in so much pain that she couldn't pick up her 1-year-old daughter or do simple household chores. She also struggled with depression because she needed constant child-care assistance.

"It's really hard to ask for help," Haley recalled. "You want to be competent and independent. ... And then, all of a sudden, you have to acknowledge the fact that you can't take care of your daughter all by yourself."

Haley and her husband were both full-time students, so there were also financial concerns. The couple cashed in their retirement to deal with the crush of medical bills.

"I was really bottoming out emotionally," Haley said.

That's when a friend recommended that she reach out to the Pink Daisy Project, a nonprofit that provides support to breast cancer patients under 45.
Since 2008, the Pink Daisy Project has helped more than 150 women - mostly in the form of house-cleaning assistance and gift cards for gas, groceries and restaurants. But according to Haley, it's so much more.

Read more about Haley here.

Filed under: CNN Heroes
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