According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 318,590 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed among men and women in 2017. Pink It Forward – a local non-profit whose mission is to provide hope and empowerment by enriching the lives of all those affected by breast cancer – is doing what they can to make a difference in the lives of each and every one of those individuals.
The organization, founded in 2013, is comprised of 4 family members, 3 of which have beat breast cancer. Within the last 3 generations, 10 women within the family have been diagnosed with breast cancer; something no one takes lightly. Each of their experiences, however, helped influence what has grown to be an up and coming mainstream non-profit grown right here in North Dakota.
“Our biggest goal in creating Pink It Forward was to make an impact in the lives of those going through breast cancer now; our care packages aim to bring light to what can be a very dark time.” says Kayla Leier, the only founding member who has not yet been diagnosed. Wrapped in pink tissue paper, each package contains items that help alleviate the often painful side effects experienced with treatment, whether emotional or physical. Deanne Leier, co-founder and 10 year breast cancer survivor, used her journey when providing input on items to include within the care packages. “It was really hard for me to lift my arms after my double-mastectomy. Curling up in a robe on the couch and watching a movie was my safe place.”
Such a mission, however, comes at a cost. With the ambition to paint the town pink, the organization has a long list of events lined up over the next few months to not only raise awareness, but to also raise much needed funding. Kayla explains the growth they’ve seen in 2017 – “This year we went from an average of 15 packages per week, to at times 100+. While we’re able to handle the volume now, we want to ensure we’re around for the long haul.”
Pink It Forward hosts numerous annual events throughout the year, both in Fargo and in Bismarck, to help raise funds, but relies heavily on individual and business donations. The organization also keeps administrative costs low by operating 100% on volunteerism and store and assembles packages within their homes. “Until we’re in a position to take Pink It Forward to the next level financially, we want to do everything we can to ensure donations are directly used for the purchase of package items.” says Deanne.
Chances are if you’re not impacted by breast cancer, sometime over the course of your life you will know someone that is. You can help Pink It Forward make a difference and further their mission by supporting their cause. Learn more about how to do just that at www.pinkitforward.org.