Written By: C. Ryan Barber-Reading Eagle
Her friend wanted to go about life as usual.
She kept going to work, keeping with her routine to keep her mind off the breast cancer diagnosis.
But Julie Welch of Brecknock Township felt she had to do something, anything to be there for her.
So Welch made sure her friend, whom she declined to name for privacy purposes, always returned to a tidy house.
“It was comforting for me to offer her a nice place to land when she got home from work,” Welch said. “It just seemed at the time like a small thing to do to offer her that solace when you come home and everything’s clean, smells nice and is put away.”
Six years later, her friend is living cancer-free and Welch, 47, has launched her own business, Julie’s Cleaning and Organizing, with plans to provide the same comfort to others.
This year, she partnered with Cleaning for a Reason and Cleaning for Heroes, a pair of national nonprofits offering free maid services to female cancer patients and disabled veterans, respectively.
The two organizations have similar names, and Welch explains her participation in an almost identical fashion:
“If they can volunteer their life for my freedom, then I can volunteer a couple hours per month to clean their house,” Welch said. “And if people can endure the pain and suffering of going through treatment, then I can find time in my week somewhere to help them.”
Welch discovered Cleaning for Heroes in February. The nonprofit connects disabled or injured veterans, many of whom are unable to maintain their own homes, with professional maid services free of charge. Some have lost limbs or suffered debilitating injuries to legs or arms.
Others have endured head trauma.
Regardless, Welch said cleaning can make the difference for the elderly man wanting to stay in the comfort of his own home rather than a retirement community, and for the recent surgery patient wanting to recover at home instead of a hospital.
The discovery of Cleaning for Heroes quickly led to another. Just two weeks after adding Julie’s Cleaning and Organizing to Cleaning for Heroes roster, Welch found Cleaning for a Reason, a nonprofit focusing on women battling cancer, just as her friend did.
Welch is still waiting for her first job through Cleaning for Heroes. But last month, her work with Cleaning for a Reason began with a woman diagnosed with cancer who had lost her husband to cancer just a month before.
“Things have been neglected, so I tried to reassure her and let her know I understand how difficult it must have been for her,” she said. “I was just happy to be there for her.”