About Us

How it all began...

It all began with friendship and a cup of coffee…

A patient, a friend, and a doctor met at a small restaurant in Ferndale, Michigan, in the fall of 2005. They met to discuss the very real problems that the patient had regarding the financial difficulties she was experiencing as a result of her breast cancer diagnosis. Bedsides coping with her diagnosis, there was so much more to worry about: her mortgage payment, an electric bill, car payment and even groceries weighed heavily on her mind.

By the end of the meal, there was a deep desire to develop a foundation that could address this issue for her and the many other patients and survivors of breast cancer that face the same issues. And, thus, the idea for the Shades of Pink Foundation was born. Through various fundraising efforts over the past 11 years, Shades of Pink Foundation has helped hundreds of patients facing financial difficulties due to their breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Our Mission…

Many patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer have extra financial burdens placed on them during treatment and recovery. Common issues are insurance payments, food, transportation, childcare, and other essentials of daily life. It is the mission of Shades of Pink Foundation to offer temporary financial assistance during their time of need.

Our Impact…

Since 2005, Shades of Pink Foundation has helped hundreds of breast cancer patients and survivors throughout Southeast Michigan. SOPF has provided financial support by assisting with utility bills, rent and mortgage payments, COBRA payments, day care fees, transportation costs and other bills. We are proud of our achievements in giving back to our community in a real tangible way. By paying bills directly, thus relieving patients of that burden, we are giving them the opportunity to move forward with cancer treatments.

Our Vision…

Shades of Pink Foundation was founded on the very simple principle that no person should have to forgo life-saving medical treatment to pay for monthly bills. By working with individuals, businesses and organizations throughout our community, we are building a comprehensive program to provide assistance to patients in need. Focused on longevity and sustainability, Shades of Pink Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that breast cancer patients throughout Southeast Michigan have access to a financial safety net so they can focus household resources on treatment and recovery.

Breast Cancer in Michigan

  • Among Michigan women, breast cancer is the most common newly diagnosed cancer
  • Each year, about 8,000 Michigan women are diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in Michigan women
  • It is estimated that 1,410 women in Michigan will die from breast cancer this year
  • This year, more than 2,400 Michigan women will lose their job due to time off during treatment and recovery
  • In 2018, more than 2,600 Michigan women will experience significant financial distress due to the high costs of breast cancer treatment

(For a comprehensive list of Michigan specific breast cancer statistics, with citations, please email Karla Sherry, Executive Director, at karla@shadesofpinkfoundation.org)

Board of Directors

  • Dr. Pamela Benitez, Co-Founder, VP and Medical Director
  • Dawn Evola, Director – Finance
  • Toni Grinnan, Director
  • Suzanne Krueger, Co-Founder, Director
  • Dr. Laura Nadeau, Director
  • Deborah Silverman, Director – Social Media
  • Dr. Padmaja Venuturumilli
  • Thaddeus C. Watkins
  • Jamie Vartanian
  • Teri Sahn-Silver


  • Karla Sherry, Executive Director
  • Stephanie Hellebuyck, Gift Processor