‘Pink Ribbon Build’ gives back to caregivers

Posted |

Durham Herald Sun
By Blake Strayhorn, Executive DIrector at Durham Habitat for Humanity

Habitat homeowner Margare Allen’s great-grandson, Tavion, started kindergarten at Glenn Elementary recently.  Margare reports that Tavion, who has lived with her forever, is one of the best readers in
his class and that he loves reading in the quiet calm of his Habitat bedroom.

Margaret Rubiera has been passionate about Habitat for years, since well before Tavion was born.   Margaret has graciously given time, talent and treasure to Habitat; she leads our landscaping in Durham, and she and Miguel, her husband, have led more than 20 trips to build with Habitat in Honduras. 

Three years ago, Margaret Rubiera was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Margaret’s diagnosis set her on a path that would lead both to a good prognosis and directly to her friendship with Tavion and Margare through a Habitat project Margaret calls the Pink Ribbon Build, a Habitat house of gratitude. 

Margaret’s inspiration came when she visited the Duke Cancer Institute following her diagnosis.  Though anxious, Margaret appreciated the nurses, lab techs and other members of the support staff for
their warmth, kindness, compassion and optimism.  Her relationships with these caregivers, who she calls unsung heroes, made her journey easier to handle. These heroes extend their positive energy to countless patients engaged in a difficult and often heartbreaking battle with cancer every day.  

Margaret decided to act on her gratitude. She formed a committee of volunteers, several breast cancer survivors among them, who envisioned the Pink Ribbon Build as an opportunity for cancer survivors
and their families and friends to give back to these outstanding caregivers.  The idea gained traction and Margare Allen, a breast cancer survivor herself, bought her Pink Ribbon Build Habitat home in August 2013. 

In Margaret’s words:

“As we say thank you to our caregivers, we also want to honor people we have known who have battled this difficult disease. In a true pay-it-forward spirit, our expressions of gratitude and remembrance will be translated into a tangible blessing for a hard-working, deserving family who joins with Habitat and many volunteers to build and buy a beautiful, affordable and energy-efficient home.

“As those who have been impacted by cancer give generously of themselves to reach out to others, they will be richly rewarded by the deep satisfaction of knowing they have been part of making a positive difference for the new homeowner family and for the surrounding community. With serving comes healing and new joy.”

Now, Margaret is leading Durham Habitat’s second Pink Ribbon Build.  Dalila Manson and her four children are partnering to build and buy their new home on Harvard Street in Northeast Central Durham.  

Margaret invites all:  “Won’t you join Habitat’s second Pink Ribbon Build by making a donation, signing up to volunteer, or both?”

If so, please send a check to Durham Habitat with “Pink Ribbon Build” on the memo line. Mail to: 215 N Church St., Durham, NC 27701. Learn more and make an online donation by visiting durhamhabitat.org/pinkribbon.   

“Thank you so much,” Margaret says. “We hope to see lots of you out on the build site. Let’s laugh, get sore muscles, and have a grand time!”

Habitat Success Stories

Lal is a Burmese refugee who came to Durham after stops in India and Thailand. Lal partnered with Habitat and the Durham Literacy Center to renovate a historic home in East Durham. “There is no more fear,” Lal said. “We won’t have to move again because the home belongs to us.”

Lal