To help cancer patients with those expenses, Jeyaraj and her friend Sue Ebers designed and are selling a cookbook to benefit Sister's Circle, Jeyaraj's breast-cancer support group, and the Wellness Place in Lansdale, which cares for people with all types of cancer.
The project began as a gift to the women in Sister's Circle, a North Penn group that Jeyaraj, now 46, joined after completing six months of chemotherapy in 1997.
Jeyaraj said, she realized that many women in the group struggled to pay for the nonmedical expenses that came with fighting cancer.
"Most insurance companies don't cover the cost of wigs, which I think is awful," she said.
In the last year, the disease was rediagnosed in three group members, Jeyaraj said.
"We were constantly dipping into our own pocketbooks," she said. "We were constantly buying flowers or this or that."
Hence the idea for the cookbook.
Aside from favorites such as pumpkin and cranberry breads, the book contains mostly German recipes that have been passed down through Jeyaraj's family - some of which were family secrets.
"I'm not supposed to give out the recipe for my grandmother's brew cake," Jeyaraj said, smiling, "but I figured she wouldn't mind for this."
The recipes are accompanied by members' stories of their experiences.
"I think they help women who are going through it," Jeyaraj said.
Ebers and Jeyaraj raised more than $8,000 in donations from local businesses, doctors and hospitals to print 2,000 copies of the cookbook.
The pair - along with their families and friends - have been selling the books since June at churches, grocery stores and out of their cars. The Spice Smuggler and Golden Scissors Hair Salon in Lansdale also are promoting the cookbooks.
"We hope to have one in every kitchen in the North Penn area," Ebers said.
Though they were reluctant to estimate how many books they had sold so far, Jeyaraj and Ebers said they were pleased with the sales and were hoping sales would increase during the holiday season.
"We really are like sisters," Jeyaraj said of her group. "No one really knows what you're going though except these other women."
Michelle Jeffery's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
For More Information
To order a cookbook or to get more information about breast-cancer support groups in the area, call Karin Jeyaraj at 215-393-9749 or write the Wellness Cookbook Program, Box 124, Lansdale, Pa. 19446. Cost is $12; $15.50 by mail.