At Convention 2012, the Tri Delta Foundation established Trilogy, an endowed fund to provide transformational grants for the benefit of Tri Delta members. In 2016, the Foundation made its inaugural Trilogy grant to Sarah Shore, Rhodes, allowing her to graduate from college on time and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.
The Tri Delta Foundation made its second life-changing Trilogy grant in 2017 to a courageous young breast cancer survivor and Tri Delta alumna, Martha Parker, Toronto.
In December 2016, 27-year-old Martha was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer after finding lumps in both breasts. Martha was at the furniture store where she works as a floor manager when she confirmed her fear.
“I had three missed calls and a voicemail from my doctor’s office, and I knew what she was calling to say,” Martha remembers. She walked to a nearby park to return the call.
“That’s when I found out I had breast cancer. After that phone call, I was very confused. I was in denial. I didn’t know what it meant, and I didn’t understand why it was happening. It was surreal.”
Appointments started almost immediately for seemingly endless tests and scans. Martha also faced life-altering decisions, including undergoing IVF to freeze her eggs to ensure healthy future pregnancies. Martha started chemotherapy in January, which was followed by a double mastectomy, which was followed by radiation.
From the time of her diagnosis, Martha received an outpouring of love and support from her Tri Delta sisters, whom she has remained close with since graduating from the University of Toronto in fall 2013.
“They are smart, kind, generous and genuine people, and it’s humbling to have them as my friends,” she says. “They were a huge part of my support and healing.”
In January, her sisters threw her a surprise brunch where they presented her with a check that would cover the cost of a wig, as Martha faced the inevitability of losing her hair.
As Martha began her treatment, she also began to worry about finances. While most of her medical expenses were covered, she was facing some major out-of-pocket expenses. She did not receive any benefits through her employer and was struggling to continue working while undergoing treatment.
“I felt an obligation to carry out business as usual,” she admits. “But I knew I was going to have surgery in June, and I knew I would have to take time off. I desperately wanted time off, but I didn’t know how that would be possible. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.”
Sisters Helping Sisters
Her Canada Alpha sister Katie mentioned the Crescent Fund in passing one day. A few weeks later, Katie sent Martha an email with a link to the application…and a letter of recommendation. Hesitantly, Martha applied. Not wanting to get ahead of herself, she didn’t think much more about it.
Then, Martha got a call from the Foundation informing her that not only had her application for a Crescent Fund grant been approved, she had also been awarded a Trilogy grant, doubling the modest support she had initially requested. This additional support afforded Martha the ability to take much-needed time off to focus on her health and healing.
“It was a combination of shock and relief, like I could finally take a deep breath.”
Martha completed chemotherapy in April, and her Tri Delta sister Emma, whom she’s known since grade 6, threw her a party to celebrate. She underwent a double mastectomy in June and is currently finishing up her radiation treatment. It’s been a challenging, life-changing journey, but Tri Delta has been there every step of the way.
“Knowing that Tri Delta is here to support me is humbling and heart warming. It’s a really good feeling to know that organizations like this exist to bring people together and offer support when needed,” says Martha. “Over the past year I’ve seen so many examples of generosity and kindness, from friends, family and Tri Delta.”
She adds, “Tri Delta is a part of my past, a part of my present and a huge part of my life.”
Click here to read the official press release.
For more information about how to support Trilogy please contact Anne Leary, Tri Delta Foundation’s Sr. Director of Development.