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The Story of Debbie’s Friends Fund

Helping Our Local Communities, One Family at a Time.

Breast cancer has touched millions of lives. In the United States alone, about 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with this terrible illness in their lifetime.

We understand that breast cancer is far more than a statistic. The people affected are our mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends. We know how a cancer diagnosis takes your family’s life and turns it upside-down and inside-out, breaking it apart until the shattered pieces come crashing down around you. We know because we’ve been there, too.

Debbie was a beloved mother and friend who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1996. Though her loss left us devastated, we continued to move forward, slowly but surely. We decided to help others who were going through a similar situation by raising money for organizations that assisted with breast cancer awareness and research. Still, we wanted to do more. We wanted to be able to help local families who were struggling with the emotional and financial burdens that this disease brings.

In 2011, we started our own foundation, “Debbie’s Friends Fund,” so that we might be able to help those who are Debbie’s friends in spirit. Today, through the unwavering support of our generous community members, we continue our mission to assist our friends, neighbors, and loved ones with this difficult time in their lives.

"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." ~John Bunyan


On March 5, 2017, at my "Tata to my Tata's" party, Cherise and friends, through Debbie's Friends Fund/Drink for Pink, gifted me with $2000 to do something for myself after my double mastectomy. The girls were actually invited guests, as we are all friends, so this surely came as a surprise to me. To say I was, and still am, grateful would be an enormous understatement. I never thought I would be in this position and definitely had no idea what to expect post surgery.

Since my surgery, I found out that I, in fact, have Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. Cherise and friends made sure to reiterate that I was to do something for myself with the money. I originally felt guilty for even contemplating using it for anything but bills but I now, more than ever, realize that LIFE IS SHORT! I will be using the money to go on a vacation very soon :)

Thank you for all that you have done for me and women like me, as well as the countless women you will assist in the future. You all do amazing work! I did not have the pleasure of knowing Debbie but I know, without a doubt, that she is smiling down from heaven, full of pride because she got to be YOUR mom! I love you all! Xoxo

Andy Sealy, 37 years old, South Philadelphia

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My name is Donna Allevato, I'm a mother of 4 girls. I was diagnosed with breast cancer May 2016. During the time of my diagnosis, my unemployment ran out, so I not only had breast cancer, I also had the stress of dealing with keeping a roof over our heads.

I was going through chemo during the holidays and to my surprise, friends of mine reached out to Debbie's Friends. Cherise surprised me at my house on a day I wasn't feeling the greatest, but her friendly personality and excitement made a not so great day, amazing! She presented a check for $2000 to my daughters and I. Debbie's Friends Fund was such a big help and was truly a blessing when I was going through treatment. Thank you Debbie's Friends and everyone who supports the organization.

~Donna Allevato

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In 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a scary time for me and my family, but I was determined to fight! My oncologist proposed a double mastectomy which would require me to be out of work for some time. Although my husband Joe was working, medical bills were piling up. Unbeknownst to me, Cherise contacted my daughter, Chrissy. Cherise told my daughter that Debbie’s Friends Fund was donating to me! When I got the call from Cherise, I cried. It was a generous donation for which I will forever be grateful. Thank you, Debbie’s Friends Fund!

Betty Becker May, 2017

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