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2 Day Diet

Total Health

Volume 3, Issue 27, July 27, 2011


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Are you the right fit?

Talk Loudoun is currently expanding its team of feature writers. If you're a journalist with experience writing human interest (not hard news) stories and can take on unique, moving pieces with heart and passion, we want to talk with you. You must be available during the day and able to complete one or two stories per month. Please send a note, resume and writing samples to info@TalkLoudoun.com. We'll be in touch!


Talk takes off --

Just a reminder, this is our final e-zine of the summer. As we do each year, Talk takes the month of August off because we've found many of our readers are away, which provides us the perfect time to focus on family, travel, regroup and reflect -- all while working on fresh, dynamic stories to bring your way, just after Labor Day!

Enjoy special time with your families and loved ones, and we'll see you you in September with more of our 'unique brand' of stories and a recap of our summer travel.


Chrysler 6-11 #2

Clean rooms, open hearts
By Lisa Karl


CleanForReason_tag-1In early March, Elizabeth Thomas received her lung cancer diagnosis and within a week began chemotherapy. She soon found out what many already know: cancer changes everything. Many afflicted with the disease find they must stop "doing" for others and focus on their own treatment and health. Having a clean home -- something that may seem like a small matter -- can be a big deal to women like Thomas.


The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 750,000 women receiving a cancer diagnosis for the first time in 2011. Five years ago, a nonprofit foundation formed to step in to assist women with cancer, helping them accomplish the task many of them no longer have the energy to do. Cleaning for a Reason exists to match cancer patients with local cleaning services and offer the peace of mind that a clean home brings.


Thomas speaks of the unpredictability of the chemotherapy effects, her low energy levels and the need to focus on her health. "There's nothing worse than lying down and resting and seeing stuff," Thomas says. She adds that it's hard to relax when you're eye-level with dust and clutter, yet you just don't have the energy to clean.


Thomas takes her treatment at Virginia Cancer Specialists in Leesburg, and it was there that she spotted a flier for Cleaning for a Reason on a bulletin board. Visiting the foundation's website, she typed in her zip code to be matched with a cleaning service; unfortunately, the site informed Thomas that there was no service in her area. Not one to be put off that easily, Thomas searched the cleaning providers on the site and found Maid in Virginia. After contacting owner Martha Looney to confirm that she did provide service in Thomas' area, she contacted Cleaning for a Reason and the wheels were put in motion. CleanForReason_tag-2


Maid in Virginia, an Ashburn-based cleaning service that partners with Cleaning for a Reason, came through for Thomas. Looney's team performs four free monthly cleanings for clients going through treatment. "Can you imagine having a wonderful life, everything's perfect, and all of the sudden everything changes?" Looney asks. "Now you have to focus on yourself."


Looney discovered Cleaning for a Reason through a friend. "I knew immediately that's what we wanted to do," she says. "We're a business that wants to give back to the community. I love being a community citizen." Logging on to Cleaning for a Reason's website, Looney found her business met the organization's criteria -- including being insured or bonded and performing background checks on employees -- and Maid in Virginia was soon listed as a participating cleaning service.


The patients are adjusting to a new life, but as Looney points out, if there is a husband, he is taxed as well. He's often trying to run the household and handle the children, if any. The cleaning service can remove some of that stress, giving Looney and her employees the feeling of supporting everyone in the home.


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Thomas says the cleanings are like a present that's been given to her, one she'd never given herself before. "Because of chemo, you're more susceptible to infection," she says. "Frankly, cleaning toilets is not what I should be doing." In fact, avoiding infection is the main reason Thomas has put her career on hold. Until her diagnosis, Thomas was busy training dogs and working as a behavioral consultant, as well as serving as the training director of Old Dominion CleanForReason_tag-4Animal Health Center. As much as she dearly loves the animals, Thomas needs to take great care to avoid the cuts and scrapes that are a natural part of working with puppies.

Maid in Virginia employee Elisha Holland enthusiastically supports Cleaning for a Reason. Six months into her employment, Thomas is her first Cleaning for a Reason client. Looney explained the program, emphasizing the clients' needs, and the company's desire to give back to the community. "I was ecstatic when I first heard about it," Holland says. It makes her feel good to come in and help someone, and she's proud to work for a company that is so active in the community.


Looney wishes there were more businesses and patients who knew of this opportunity. Currently, there are four cleaning businesses in Loudoun County partnered with Cleaning for a Reason, but the need is great. She emphasizes that it's easy to do, and the rewards are great.


Patients can have a harder time. "If a friend or relative can go to the website and do this for the patient, it's so much easier," Looney says. The service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Monday through Friday Cleaning for a Reason opens up its cancer patient application process at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Available spaces fill quickly, and the patient often needs to try time and time again -- so when a friend can take over the task, it's a reliCleanForReason_tag-3ef.


Cleaning for a Reason clients receive the same care and attention as their regularly paying clients. Looney receives the client's information from Cleaning for a Reason, and she immediately meets with the client to determine their needs. The crew then goes and offers peace of mind. "It's just like a normal cleaning, except with more heart," Holland says.


Knowing her house is clean gives Thomas a sense of relief. Moreover, it's not just that Maid in Virginia comes in and provides this service. "It's knowing that there are people out there that care enough to do something like this," Thomas says.


"We have three or four Cleaning for a Reason clients that I love," Holland laughs. "They all know me very well." And Holland knows what patients are going through -- her stepmother passed away from stomach cancer last fall.


Cancer touches just about everyone at some point. In fact, Looney herself is a cancer survivor. Almost 10 years ago, she received her own cancer diagnosis. Her special empathy for cancer patients comes through in her passion to help and give back to other women. Dust bunnies may not seem like a big deal, but a clean home goes a long way in lifting the spirits of women whose lives have been turned upside down.


For more information on Cleaning for a Reason and participation as either a patient or a cleaning business, please visit http://www.cleaningforareason.org/.

Your fundraiser or community event, featured in

Talk's Rendezvous e-zine!

Attention publicists, event planners and all our loyal readers -- you may have noticed our last few exciting Rendezvous e-zines were community-generated! We offered and our readers accepted. They called and told us about their exciting events, and we said go for it! It's been our pleasure using reader-generated professional quality photos and information in our monthly Rendezvous, and we'd like to continue.

Each time we'll feature one or two sets of photos that highlight unique charitable fundraisers or community events, and we would be happy to consider yours! Photos need to be submitted in a particular size, with full event details provided. All those specs will be sent to you upon our approval of your event or program. For more information about our expanded coverage of Loudoun activities with you as our community reporters, contact Talk Founder Miriam Nasuti at 703.771.8893 or via e-mail at Miriam@TalkLoudoun.com. Thank you!
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