Goldstar Cleaning proud to be “Cleaning for a Reason”

Cleaning for a Reason logo courtesy
Cleaning for a Reason logo courtesy
This article originally appeared in the June 7, 2013 issue of The Free Press. An estimated 91,400 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cancer this year, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. For many women, the battle against cancer is an all-consuming one, impacting every aspect of their lives. “A lot of your life gets put on hold. It becomes all about the cancer,” says Violet Minifie, 83, a Fernie resident who was diagnosed with ovarian and colon cancer in 2010. Minifie, who worked as a supervisor for the clerical department at a social services agency for more than 40 years, continues to lead an active lifestyle in spite of her diagnosis. She’s an avid reader and enjoys knitting and cooking. On Saturdays, she drives her 1985 Honda Civic down the street to pick up her 89-year-old neighbour. Together, the two will head out for a night on the town, attending Mass and having dinner at the local A&W. In other areas, Minifie’s family stepped in to help. Her grandson moved in with her to assist with daily chores, while Minifie’s three daughters took turns driving her back and forth to Calgary for cancer treatments. But Minifie drew the line at having her family clean up after her. “My family has been so supportive of me already, you just can’t imagine,” she says. “I didn’t want them to be responsible for cleaning my house, too.” Last April, Minifie’s family turned to Cleaning for a Reason, a North American non-profit organization that partners with maid services to provide free cleaning for women affected by cancer. In response, Fernie-based Goldstar Cleaning Services sent their team of cleaning professionals to Minifie’s home four times over six weeks for a thorough spring cleaning. “They did pretty much everything,” Minifie recalls. “They scrubbed the cupboards and fridge and cleaned the carpets. I’ll never forget it.” Goldstar has been a proud supporter of Cleaning for a Reason since 2011. Barclay says her company’s support for Cleaning for a Reason is about more than keeping homes tidy. “We want to encourage women to go on with their lives, in spite of the fear and uncertainty a diagnosis of cancer can bring,” she explains. Since it was founded in 2006, Texas-based Cleaning for a Reason has partnered with more than 1,000 maid services across Canada and the U.S. and helped more than 13,000 women affected by cancer. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey even featured the organization on a segment aired on WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas, TX, on February 13, 2009. Any woman 19 years of age or older who is undergoing treatment for cancer is welcome to apply for support through Cleaning for a Reason’s website. Goldstar is also committed to helping women affected by cancer outside the Cleaning for a Reason program. In November 2012, Goldstar awarded its Extreme Makeover: Clean Home Edition contest grand prize to George Torresani and Rochelle Simmons. The married couple had been living apart since last summer after their eldest daughter Brooke, 17, relocated to Vancouver to undergo treatment for lung cancer. When Rochelle and Brooke returned home for the holidays, Goldstar made sure their house was ready for them, sending a team of nine professional cleaners to give George and Rochelle’s home an extreme makeover. “One of the reasons we felt good about choosing this particular family is because they had been separated for so long,” Barclay explained at the time. “This way, they’ll have this time to spend together rather than worry about tedious chores. We will be starting to accept nominations for this year’s Extreme Makeover in October.”  

Meet the Winner of Extreme Makover: Clean Home Edition

In the end, there can be only one. Goldstar Cleaning Services would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate their neighbours, friends and family members for the Extreme Makeover: Clean Home Edition contest. It was a difficult decision, but we managed to narrow down the entries to a single winner: George Torresani of Fernie, B.C. We were genuinely touched by the story of George, his wife Rochelle Simmons, and their family. We were also overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from their friends in the community, who submitted nominations on their behalf. The story is best told by those who know George and Rochelle best, so we’ll let them do the talking. Here’s what nominee Cindy wrote:

“Rochelle’s daughter Brooke, who was 17 at the time, was diagnosed with lung cancer last December.  She had her lung removed at that point.  Unfortunately, the cancer didn’t go away, and she has been going through chemo since then… Right after graduation, Brooke and her mom headed to Vancouver to undergo more chemo. They have been there ever since, staying at the Ronald McDonald House in between treatments at the Children’s Hospital. 

Rochelle has a partner George (the meat manager at Overwaitea) and a son Wesley, who is still in high school.  So, not only has Rochelle been living away from Fernie since the end of July, she has left behind her partner and son. One can only imagine how difficult it must be for her to be by herself in Vancouver, and how hard it must be not to be at home, being a “family.”  The boys have been bachelors, looking after each other as best they can.

“I know there have been some very kind people in Fernie, who have been doing a meal train for the guys, making sure they eat properly. George has been an amazing step father to Brooke and Wesley, and again, one can only imagine the toll this must be taking on him. Working full time, being a single parent to Wesley, and having his loving partner and step daughter miles away.  Now, being guys, working full time, going to school, I’m sure house cleaning hasn’t been on the top of their “to do” list!  I can’t imagine any family more deserving of needing this extreme make over.”

Cindy, we couldn’t agree more! Goldstar understands the importance of helping families affected by cancer stay on top of everyday household chores. That’s why Goldstar is a longtime supporter of Cleaning for a Reason, a charity that provides professional free cleaning services for women affected by cancer. So get ready, George, because your bachelor pad is about to receive an Extreme Makeover! On Tuesday, November 13, the full staff of Goldstar Cleaning Services will be at George’s house, says Jill Barclay, owner and founder of Goldstar. “We’ll be giving the place a complete clean makeover, from the floors to the ceilings,” Barclay says. Stay tuned next week for a wrap-up of Extreme Makeover: Clean Home Edition, including amazing before-and-after shots of George’s house!