Samaritan Maids provides free housecleaning for cancer patients
The biblical parable of the good Samaritan makes no mention of him doing housecleaning. Two modern-day Samaritans, however, are more than happy to provide that service.
Eric Parrish and Rebecca Lusk are the co-founders of Samaritan Maids, a nonprofit organization that cleans houses — at no charge — for women in the Triad who are undergoing cancer treatment.
“This is not about Eric and Rebecca,” says Parrish, who lives in Sophia. “This is about providing a need and understanding the emotional, physical and financial stress of having cancer. Every woman likes having a clean house, but these women physically just can’t do it because of what they’re going through, and they may not be able to pay somebody to do it for them.”
Enter Samaritan Maids, which will provide up to four free professional housecleanings for women who are receiving cancer treatment and who live within an approximately 30-mile radius of Jamestown.
“It was extremely helpful to me,” says Liz Wright, of Kernersville, who has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer last March.
“My fiance is out of town five days a week, so it’s just me and my little girl (2-year-old Alexia) here. The chemo makes you really tired, and it’s the hardest thing for me to get off the couch and make myself do dishes or do laundry. So it was very uplifting when they came, because I knew my house would be clean and I wouldn’t have to worry about it.”
Parrish came up with the idea for Samaritan Maids about a year ago and pitched it to Lusk, who had been doing professional housecleaning for years, going back to when she was a teenager assisting with her mom’s housecleaning service. The idea struck a chord with Lusk, who lives in Asheboro.
“My mom had breast cancer that spread to her bones — she fought cancer for many years,” Lusk recalls. “So when Eric told me his idea, I thought about my mom. I had been trying to get out of cleaning and wasn’t sure I wanted to go back into cleaning full force again. The more we talked about it, though, the more I wanted to do this for cancer patients. The memories of my mom came crashing back, and I thought about how it would’ve been so nice if she’d had a service like this to help her out.”
The experience of helping women who have cancer has been completely rewarding, Lusk says.
“I saw what my mom went through, but I’m older now, and I can see more clearly what these treatments do,” she says. “It wears these women out just to bend over and pick up a pen off the floor. One lady could barely get to the door, and then she went and laid back down while I cleaned. It made me feel bad for her, but at the same time I’m glad I was able to brighten her day by cleaning.”
According to Parrish, Samaritan Maids also cleans houses for a fee, which generates income to help fund the nonprofit arm of the organization. He stresses, though, that the free housecleaning service — the ministry — is what Samaritan Maids is all about.
“A lot of these women are not dependent upon other people,” Parrish says, “so they have to swallow their pride and say, ‘I can’t do this — I need help.’ When they do that, they’re so appreciative of any help that’s out there, and that’s what makes this so rewarding for us.”
Parrish and Lusk do much of the cleaning themselves, but they also have a number of volunteers — including a couple of cancer survivors — who help with the cleaning.
“We have gotten such a good response from people willing to volunteer their time to help us,” Lusk says. “It’s amazing how many people are willing to help. We get emails from people saying ‘My father died of cancer’ or ‘My mother has cancer’ or ‘I’m a cancer survivor,’ and they’re all wanting to help. And I’m loving it — I’m so glad I got back into cleaning.”
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Samaritan Maids is a nonprofit organization that coordinates with professional maid services and dedicated volunteers to offer free housecleaning services to women undergoing cancer treatment.
To request the agency’s services or to volunteer, contact Eric Parrish at (336) 267-9819 or Rebecca Lusk at (336) 988-5202.
You can also visit the organization’s website at www.samaritanmaids.com.