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 her family and friends were not the only ones suffering the fall out 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 her two oldest children at preschool, Lindy approached another student's mother who was not only a fellow attorney, but was dealing with cancer herself. Lindy told her of her idea to create a nonprofit that would provide free legal help to people in Minnesota dealing with cancer. Lindsay Flint, 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's board began meeting at various Caribou Coffee shops around the Twin Cities, forging a vision and laying plans to bring the mission to life. Planning funding came from the Livestrong Foundation and the Otto Bremer Foundation, and Lindy served as the organization's sole, volunteer staff when our figurative doors opened on October 1, 2007. Lindsay moved into the role of Board Chair, providing wise counsel, pep talks, and plenty of elbow grease as our young organization weathered the Great Recession.
Transformative change came in April, 2011 when Cancer Legal Line 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 they 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 we do for the wider cancer community. All of this served to put Cancer Legal Line on the map, attracting more incredibly motivated, compassionate, giant-hearted folks to join our 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 our work.
Those little guys in preschool who got Lindy and Lindsay together all those years ago? They have graduated from college now and we are still the best of friends.