Giving to FMH

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Darlene Aulls and Donna Tisdale
Honoring a Lifelong Friendship: Darlene Aulls & Donna Tisdale

Friends since 1981, fellow FMH Auxilians Darlene Aulls and Donna Tisdale have been through a lot together.

They've supported one another through raising children, building their careers and serving the community through volunteering.

More recently, however, the two shared something that was far more challenging than anything they'd experienced before. In 2001, Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer; several years later, Darlene received the same diagnosis. Like the lifetime friends they are, they supported and encouraged one another through treatment and recovery.

It was during their treatment phases that both women began to reflect on the hardship that women without health insurance face when dealing with breast cancer. When a little research uncovered how expensive their own medications would have been had they not been covered by their own health insurance, they decided to do what they could to help others.

Separately, the two began supporting the FMH Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, a special purpose fund set up to help uninsured or underinsured patients afford medications, equipment and supplies associated with their illness until a more permanent funding solution can be found. Knowing their contributions were helping people less fortunate than they to cope with their cancer was a satisfying outreach for both women.

When Darlene turned 60, Donna made a gift to the Fund in honor of her friend's birthday. The following year, Darlene returned the favor. And so began a birthday tradition that is meaningful to both women, primarily because they know it is helpful to so many others.

"At this point in our lives, neither of us needs anything," said Darlene. "So giving to FMH in honor of one another's birthdays is a way for us to remember the occasion while supporting a cause that is far bigger than both of us."

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