Taking cleaning off cancer patients’ plates

Take note, es­pe­cially since it's Na­tion­al Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month: a Port Rich­mond clean­ing ser­vice of­fers free house clean­ing to wo­men who are af­flic­ted by can­cer.

Raylene Arko (cen­ter) of Port Rich­mond with her clean­ing team. MI­KALA JAM­IS­ON / STAR PHOTO

For Port Rich­mond’s Raylene Arko, clean­ing has deep mean­ing, es­pe­cially when it comes to clean­ing for fe­male can­cer pa­tients.

Arko, founder and own­er of Keep it Clean With Raylene, 2972 Rich­mond St., has been in busi­ness for 18 years, but began work­ing with Clean­ing for a Reas­on sev­en years ago.

The ser­vice ar­ranges free house­clean­ing ser­vices for those wo­men af­fected by can­cer.  

Work­ing with can­cer pa­tients, Arko said, has a spe­cial place in her heart. Her fath­er passed away from can­cer, and her moth­er is a can­cer sur­viv­or. 

Arko, a lifelong Port Rich­mond res­id­ent, once worked in real es­tate while also clean­ing houses on the side. The house clean­ing began to really take off, which is when she de­cided to get in­to busi­ness on her own. 

Her staff com­prises 13 ladies, as well as a male driver. She prides her­self, she said, on the cus­tom­er ser­vice stand­ard she up­holds. 

She also says her staff is the ab­so­lute best. 

Arko is glad, she said, to be work­ing to help ladies go­ing through can­cer treat­ment. They make great cli­ents. 

“It’s great to see how happy wo­men are after you clean. They’re so ap­pre­ci­at­ive,” she said. “It takes the bur­den off their shoulders. They’re not happy un­less their house is clean.” 

One wo­men, Arko said, stuck with her — she cleaned the home of a wo­man go­ing though can­cer who was 33, only a few years young­er than Arko was. 

“I felt like I could re­late to what she was go­ing through,” Arko said. 

Right now, Arko said she’s hav­ing a hard time con­nect­ing with loc­al ladies in re­gard to the free clean­ing ser­vice. She spoke last week at a meet­ing of the Ladies of Port Rich­mond, an or­gan­iz­a­tion that works to­ward breast can­cer fun­drais­ing and re­search op­por­tun­it­ies. 

When ladies reach out to Clean­ing for a Reas­on, they will re­ceive one house­clean­ing a month for four months. 

“It’s just one less thing,” she said of hav­ing a clean home. “They can con­cen­trate on get­ting bet­ter.” 

Clean­ing for a Reas­on began when pres­id­ent and founder Debbie Sardone of Lewis­ville, TX., took a phone call from a pro­spect­ive cli­ent of her clean­ing ser­vice. The wo­man told her she wouldn’t be able to pay for the clean­ing be­cause she was un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ments.

From then on, Sardone de­cided that no wo­man un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ment would ever be turned down by her busi­nesses. Since 2006, Clean­ing for A Reas­on has donated more than $3 mil­lion in house­clean­ing ser­vices from more than 1,000 maid ser­vice part­ners.

When a wo­man reaches out to the or­gan­iz­a­tion, it matches her to a maid ser­vice in her area. 

Arko said she’s just wor­ried that wo­men don’t know about the ser­vice, even though it’s so worth­while. 

“We want to ser­vice pa­tients loc­ally,” she said. “Port Rich­mond is a close-knit com­munity, every­one has each oth­er’s backs. We want to do our best for them.” 

To ap­ply for free clean­ing ser­vices if you are go­ing through treat­ment, vis­it ht­tp://www.clean­ing­for­areas­on.org/pa­tients

To con­tact Arko’s ser­vice, vis­it ht­tp://www.keep­itclean­with­raylene.com/ or call 215-203-8688. ••

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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