How It Started
Job loss. Uninsurability. Bankruptcy. These are just some of the legal issues Lindy Yokanovich's family and friends faced after being diagnosed with cancer. Lindy realized they were not the only ones suffering the fallout of a cancer diagnosis on employability, insurability, and financial security, and thought there had to be a better way to get help to those in need.
One morning in 2004, after dropping off her two oldest children at preschool, Lindy approached Lindsay Flint—another mother, attorney, and cancer patient. Lindy told Lindsay her idea to create a nonprofit that would provide free legal help to people in Minnesota dealing with cancer. Lindsay replied, "What a great idea! Can I be on the board? You could call it Cancer Legal Line!"
With that, a great friendship was born and the seed planted for change.
Cancer Legal Line (CLL) formed its board and began meeting at various Caribou Coffee shops around the Twin Cities, forging a vision and laying plans to bring the mission to life. Funding for planning came from the Livestrong Foundation and the Otto Bremer Foundation, and Lindy served as the organization's sole—and volunteer—staff when the figurative doors opened on October 1, 2007. Lindsay moved into the role of Board Chair, providing wise counsel, pep talks, so many ideas, and plenty of elbow grease as CLL weathered the Great Recession.
Transformative change came in April 2011 when CLL received funding from Susan G. Komen Minnesota, enabling both Lindy and Lindsay to leave their other work and become full-time staff attorneys serving Minnesota's breast cancer community with the legal care it needed to be well. This funding not only helped to better serve breast cancer patients, but galvanized other funders and donors to support the work CLL did for the wider cancer community. All of this served to put Cancer Legal Line on the map, attracting more motivated, compassionate, giant-hearted folks to join the board and help spread the message of the tremendous impact getting legal care can have on a cancer patient's well-being. More changes came in May 2017, when Cancer Legal Line became Cancer Legal Care to better reflect the nature and impact of the work.
And those little guys in preschool who got Lindy and Lindsay together all those years ago? They've graduated from college, and we are still the best of friends.
How It's Going
Cancer Legal Care continues to grow and thrive. We currently have six staff members, 12 members on our board of directors, nearly 100 volunteer attorneys, and thousands of Minnesotans helped.