MADISON — Smilow Cancer Hospital for Breast Cancer was the recipient of a second donation from Infinite Strength, to assist patients with the numerous expenses incurred during treatment not covered by insurance.
Roberta Lombardi of Madison, president and founder of Infinite Strength, presented the $53,000 check to Smilow to be used at the main location in New Haven, as well as Smilow’s Cancer Care Centers across the state.
This, combined with the $60,000 presented a year ago, brings the total Infinite Strength donation to $113,000.
In January 2018, Lombardi created Infinite Strength to assist breast cancer patients with miscellaneous expenses incurred during treatment that are not covered by insurance such as: the Paxman Scalp Cooling System, also known as the “cold cap,” a technology that freezes hair follicles during chemotherapy to avoid hair loss; and the newly created Preservation of Fertility for Breast Cancer Patients Fund.
Other assorted expenses covered by the donation include utility, mortgage and phone bill payments, in addition to costs to purchase wigs and head coverings, parking fees during treatments and new comfortable clothing after surgery. With this fund, patients are eligible for up to $1,000 per calendar year.
Lombardi said the newly created Preservation of Fertility for Breast Cancer Patients Fund has enough money to assist two women. “We’re going to cover the whole cost,” she said.
“There’s about 20 women a year that are seen at the fertility center at Smilow that absolutely cannot find any money, anywhere, to preserve their fertility, but they have breast cancer, they’re of child bearing age, so they get the blow that, ‘You’re going to have chemotherapy and radiation and you’re probably going to be infertile,’ ” Lombardi said.
Dr. Pasquale Patrizio, professor and director at the Yale Fertility Center and Yale Fertility Preservation, applauded Lombardi’s work.
“Her support for breast cancer patients to preserve fertility prior to chemo/radiotherapy is a true act of love and generosity for our community,” he wrote in an email.
Dr. Sarah S. Mougalian, Lombardi’s medical oncologist at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and now an Infinite Strength board member, said it is wonderful to see Lombardi “focusing on the things that matter a lot to patients.”
“Research is great and donations to help find the next cure are great, but they don’t help somebody who’s actively going through treatment and so I think it’s very generous,” Mougalian said.
“It’s something that somebody who has already gone through the process understands. I think she’s seen a lot of people suffering and we see a lot of people suffer, from financial problems from treatment, and hopefully this will really help.”