After Jody Farley Berens and Andy Royal lost their close friend, Michelle Singleton, to cancer in 2005, they noticed that while there were plenty of organizations aimed at helped in researching and battling cancer, there weren’t enough to help cancer patients get through the rigors of their day-to-day lives.
That’s how the came up with Singleton Moms — named for their stricken friend, of course — to help single moms going through cancer, like Michelle was, focus on their recovery instead of the stress and worry about how to provide for their families.
Seven years after it was founded, Singleton Moms has helped a number of moms throughout the Valley; this year, the group is again asking for help in raising funds in its sixth annual “Lean on Me 5k Walk.”
The walk, scheduled for Sunday, March 17 in the SRP Pera club in Tempe, is the organization’s primary annual fundraising event. The event brings in money so Singleton Moms can continue to provide services such as giving meals, paying bills and taking care of other necessary tasks for “Singleton Moms” and their families.
Moms like Bekkie Neugart and Jennifer Johnston know the importance of the services provided through Singleton Moms when they themselves went through cancer.
Neugart, a 44-year-old mother of one from Phoenix, learned about Singleton Moms when her aunt found a pamphlet about the organization; she was receiving treatment for cervical cancer at the time, three years ago. Even though she qualified for services after her treatment was over, she still needed help during her recovery. She also made a promise that once she fully recovered that she will find a way to help the organization and other moms.
She fulfilled her goal by helping create “Seeds of Strength,” a support group of current and past “Singleton Moms.” She also volunteers and welcomes new members.
Neugart is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Johnston, a 37-year-old mother of three from east Mesa, learned about Singleton Moms when going through hard times after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
She lost her home and had to move with family for a time. She started looking for help online and Singleton Moms was the only organization that answered back. She, like Neugart, received help with bills, getting cooked meals, and other methodsd of support to keep going. When it came time to move into her own place, the organization helped her moved.
She also helped a “Singleton Mom” and her family get adopted in Christmas so they could have the chance to celebrate the holiday. Johnston is currently in remission.
Both Neugart and Johnston agree that the help provided by Singleton Moms was of importance during their fight with cancer.
“Having strangers that open their heart to you is an awesome feeling,” Johnston said.
Mariah Buckley, a Singleton Mom boardmember and walk co-chair said that their fundraising goal is $20,000. The money will go to the services that the organization provides. Registration costs $25 or $35 if registrating on the day of the event and children under 13 can get in free. Each participant is asked to raise at least $100 in pledges. Check-in for the walk starts at 7 a.m. and the walk starts at 8 a.m. There will also be activities for the families such music, video game trucks on site for children and, since it will be St. Patrick’s day, Irish music, beads and green shirts will also be part of the festivities.
For more information about Singleton Moms and the walk visit http://www.singletonmoms.org/.
What: Lean on Me 5k Walk
When: March 17
Where: SRP Pera Club, 1 E Continental Dr., Tempe, Ariz., 85281
• Abel, a senior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.