Person of the Week: Molly MacDonald

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 22:47:16-04

For more than a decade, breast cancer patients have had their financial burdens eased by a non-profit organization designed to do just that.

The woman behind it all is Molly MacDonald, and she's was up against some of the top entrepreneurs in the state for a prestigious honor, all while she just takes honor in paying the bills.

"Cancer is very expensive, just the cost of care," MacDonald said. "And we always talk about when we're fighting for our lives, we often lose our livelihoods."

It was 2005, and with her last $50 and a dream to help women experiencing the financial hardships of breast cancer treatment, MacDonald created The Pink Fund.

"I was standing in line at the local food bank, my home was in foreclosure, I was bargaining with Ford credit every 60 days to not come get my vehicle while I was in treatment for breast cancer," she said.

MacDonald said she had an idea to start the organization to help working women like herself, for up to 90 days, by paying bills directly to their creditors.

Laurie Tennent of Laurie Tennent Studio in Birmingham, a longtime friend, donated photography services and her time to the Pink Fund before receiving her own breast cancer diagnosis in 2011. As fate would have it, she ended up needed the service she had supported for so long.

"The Pink Fund paid for some of my bills for three months, like a mortgage, utilities and different things that really mattered," Tennent said.

According to MacDonald, they paid out nearly $500,000 in bills last year alone.

"I feel like I'm in the prime of my life, that I have this opportunity in the last third of my life to do work that really matters," MacDonald said. "To take all my skills that I have when i was employed and use them in a way to bless others."

The Pink Fund didn't end up winning an Entrepreneur of the Year Award, but MacDonald says she is just humbled to have been considered.

In 2012, Ford Motor Company picked up the Pink Fund and took it national, making the non-profit support system able to reach further outside of Michigan.