ALBEMARLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Growing up, Jennifer Hudson learned to appreciate the value of a tidy home.

You might say she inherited a ‘clean’ gene.

“My dad did instill it in me,” she recalled. “He said, ‘When you walk in the door, you want to make sure everything is picked up.’ It just makes you feel better.”

As the owner of Hudson Property Services, she’s helped spread that good feeling to clients since 2019.

Along the way, Hudson discovered her service is a welcome luxury for cancer patients. The entrepreneur found a way to give back by providing free cleanings for those fighting for their lives.

“It just helps me out so much; I don’t have to worry about it,” said Martha Cranford of Albemarle.

She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer three years ago.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, health is a top priority; everything else in life can be overwhelming.

“I went through some very strong chemotherapy that made me extremely sick,” explained Cranford. “I just couldn’t do anything—I couldn’t clean, I couldn’t do anything. I jokingly made a comment at Levine Cancer that I needed a housekeeper.”

What Cranford didn’t realize is that what she was joking about exists. There’s a nationwide network of cleaning companies giving back to people just like her.

“Yes, they’re free cleanings, and no, there’s no strings attached,” Hudson said. “It’s just something that we love to do, and we love to give back to the community.”

The Texas-based nonprofit Cleaning for a Reason includes 1200 businesses that have spruced up the homes of some 47-thousand patients since 2006.

The labor itself is valued at close to 16 million, but founder Debbie Sardone says it’s hard to put a value on what it means to people going through chemo and other treatments.

“And (cancer) makes the person who has kind of felt like their life is spinning out of control with doctor appointments, and medicines, and treatments, and surgeries,” said Sardone. “When their whole life is spinning out of control, cleaning – walking into a clean home – it’s like vitamins for the soul. They instantly feel a sense of control back in their lives.”

Sardone owns a cleaning service in Texas and says the idea for Cleaning for a Reason came after she received a call from a woman with cancer who said she couldn’t afford to have her house cleaned.

Later, Sardone realized she could have done something to help.

After, she made it a company policy to offer services for free to those with the disease.

“So, it really started out as a missed opportunity. It started as an idea and an internal policy before it became a national organization,” Sardone said.

Participating companies agree to provide at least two monthly cleanings.

“That’s really all it is, is just lending a hand when they need it,” said Hudson. “We’re all human, everybody needs help, and I look at that as just… I don’t look at that as an opportunity; I look at it as just a chance to make somebody’s day.”

“It just makes you a better person, really,” Cranford said of the feeling a clean house gives her. “That somebody cares enough to come in and get your house cleaned for you.”

In the past few years, Hudson Property Services has helped 18 patients. Of course, you can’t just wipe away the stress that comes with the disease.

We can only hope more people hear these uplifting words: ‘I am cured!’ Cranford declared.

“My tumor is gone; thank the good Lord!”

Hudson first realized growing up that a bit of elbow grease goes a long way. As a business owner, she’s taken that to another level.

“It’s just us finding a way to give back to the community,” she said.