As the Komen Race for the Cure gets ready to roll this Mother's Day, some of the money raised will help fund a unique program helping breast cancer patients right now.
It's a program aimed at easing a patient's bills and their worries as well. It's called the Cancer Legal Line and it has helped 51-year-old Karen Kirkland of St. Paul.
Kirkland has a 4-year-old son, Silas. As they read together on their porch Tuesday, Silas often stopped her mid-sentence to ask "Why?" For example, "Hey mom. That's a wild horse. Why?"
Kirkland also asked, "Why?" when she was diagnosed with breast cancer just one year after adopting him.
"It was kind of hard to think, 'Wow. I just got him.' It doesn't make sense that he had no parents. He was found in china at 8 months," she said.
She worried maybe he would lose her as a parent, too.
Kirkland wanted to appoint a legal guardian for Silas, but she couldn't afford legal fees. So the Cancer Legal Line helped her for free.
Founder and Executive Director, Lindy Yokanovich, said with funding from Susan G. Komen Minnesota, CALL has helped more than 300 breast cancer patients with their legal needs in the past four years.
"Of those 300 plus women, over 50 of them have come to us for help with their guardianship planning for their children," Yokanovich said.
She said CALL helps with a variety of legal needs cancer patients may have, "Whether it's an employment issue, insurance coverage, figuring out disability or really doing estate programming for the first time."
CALL helped Kirkland with guardianship planning. She now has someone designated to take care of Silas if something happens to her.
She is done with chemotherapy, but is still under the care of doctors with a lumpectomy and radiation ahead.
Laughing, she said, "I think they feel really good about it. I feel really good about it. I keep telling them I'm cancer free."
She said she sleeps better knowing her questions about Silas' future have been answered.
The Komen Race for the Cure is Sunday at Mall of America.